Day 68: Pure
CREATURES OF HABIT
You’ve come a long way thus far in the course. Whether or not lasting freedom is a reality for you yet, God is no doubt working in your heart if you are earnestly applying the biblical truths being taught here. Have you seen your heart become more pure as you’ve progressed through the course?
As we learned early on, the heart must be changed for us to experience lasting freedom. It’s insufficient to simply have behavior modification, our change must go deeper than that - it must reach our heart.
When animals are trained, they learn that they can only get the result they desire if they do a certain behavior. (Consider, for example, a dolphin that jumps to get a fish.) Animals will quickly change their behavior to get rewards. We are unlike animals in our ability to have freedom: we decide what we do and how we do it, and we also decide whether or not we accept our "rewards." We must not become like animals, who only change their outward behavior. If we only suppress our desires to make change happen, we will always stumble. Why? Because we are free and will find some other means of getting what we want. Our change has to go so deep that it changes the very things we long for.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:21
TRUSTING THE RIGHT VOICE
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; -Proverbs 3:5
To lean not on our own understanding implies that we must lean on the understanding of another. We can choose to continue relying on our bodily instincts to guide and rule us, or we can study the word of God, giving us the insight needed to find lasting freedom. Relying on Godly wisdom means understanding that the things we lust over and which may feel pleasurable to our bodies, actually do us and others harm.
Too many people approach temptation as a head game, something to push or “think” away. What they don’t realize is all along the heart is left vulnerable to attack. Our hearts are what is at stake here, our hearts are the wellspring of our lives.
God cares greatly for our heart and implores us to keep it safe. This is why (among other reasons) sexual purity is commanded until marriage. Our sexuality compromises the core of our heart, and we do not freely give our hearts away. Yet our culture attempts to sell the lie that sex is "just sex." God encourages sex solely in marriage because it takes the protection of a conventional, committed, and God-ordained marriage to provide the safety for your heart to be so deeply exposed.
...The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:7
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised... -Luke 4:18
Jesus' very mission was to come and heal the brokenhearted, and make no mistake, by living in this fallen world we are brokenhearted. Our sexuality exposed our heart, bruising it and keeping us captive. We will likely never understand, this side of heaven, the value and depth of our own hearts. Nor can we fully understand the peace of God. But aren’t you tired of trying to explain and reason yourself out of temptation? How often has that worked for any of us? How many arguments have we had with ourselves only to stumble immediately after?
Friend, if you want to find freedom, it starts in the heart. It starts by turning our hearts over to God, and cultivating a desire for intimacy with him instead of our idols. If we’re in it for our own pleasure, we will never overcome the temptations that haunt us. Our hearts must be reoriented to direct us to the giver of all the good things we desired in the first place.
Day 68 Application
Regarding your struggles, how have you leaned on your own understandings in the past? Have you tried to “convince” yourself not to sin in the past? What were the results?
Where is your heart? Has God begun to change you from the heart level or are you still trying to change behavior?
Is it possible to manage sexual sin on our own? If we were to try to justify ourselves, what would the spiritual implications be?
How does the shame and personal nature of sexual sin impede our ability to both get help and help those who need it? How does our own sense of shame impede us from helping those who need it?