(Caution warning notice: this post isn’t “nice.” [And, moreover, I am tired and thoughtful and in an odd mood.] If you are faint of heart and/or do not like the Truth, do not read it. Thank you. Consider yourself warned. Now you can’t sue me. Ha!)
I started young, unfortunately.
I had my first so-called “crush” (I hate that word) at age ten. Yes… ten. And this without any encouragement from friends talking about guys or parents making dumb jokes or the guys out and out making it plain they returned “the crush”. Eventually that faded… and was replaced by another. And… another. And yet another.
There isn’t any need to go into all the details of those: the point is that this is an area in which I have had many a desperate struggle. There are many reasons for my troubles, I suppose… the primary one being this:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
I have read a great many books about purity…. Before you Meet Prince Charming… Authentic Beauty… And the Bride Wore White… Passion and Purity… Emotional Purity… Of Knights and Fair Maidens… When God Writes Your Love Story… I Kissed Dating Goodbye…
Oh yes, splendid books. All of them.
I never dated anyone. Never even got into a situation where hand holding would be an issue, much less anything more serious. I’m not super flirty. I dress modestly. I have good parents. I have good friends.
Yes sir, I can check off all the right boxes. I’d score pretty high on your average “purity level” test.
And even still, with all that, my heart has not been kept pure. Still, even now, I have to fight wrong thoughts of all kinds: not just “crush” type thoughts; but selfish thoughts, prideful thoughts, evil thoughts, lustful thoughts, despairing thoughts, and the list goes on and on.
I’d like to blame someone else. But when it all comes down to it, what I allow to take root in my heart is my own fault.
But no problem, right? I mean seriously… look at the mess everyone else is in! Look at all the people I know who have babies before they have a wedding ring!! And then look at my credentials!! Look at all my check marks! Look at my looong skirts! Who could ask for more than what I’ve done (and not done)??
God, that’s who.
3Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Pure in heart, folks. That is the standard.
Do you know what? I just realized something super obvious and super brilliant. As in, you’ll probably say “duh” if your little sister lets you. (mine doesn’t).
Why is a “crush” such a big deal??? Seriously, doesn’t God have bigger things to worry about??
Good question! The reason, my dear readers, is because often times said “crush” is translated to “idolatry” under God’s HOLY eyes. Yeeek. If you know anything about God and have read anything in the Bible, you’ve probably discovered by now that God… well… HATES idols. He is number one. He doesn’t want to be number one: He is. Or… He AM. (Sorry, fellow writer people. It makes me cringe too. But it’s proper so I can’t help it.)
And He, from His divine perspective, sees how incredibly dumb it is for us to exalt anything (heh, here is where anyone who has miraculously managed to read through the “crush” part without feeling guilty will get caught. 😛 Sorry, I didn’t make up the rules.)… let me say that again (I need it, heh) ANYTHING above Him. He is……….. SO unfathomably bigger and awesomer and holier and wonderfuler and prettier and……… yeah. The End.
(Sorry, me and everything and everyone else, we are now extremely teeny, gray, sinful, ugly, and pathetic.) (see, I told you this post wasn’t nice.)
Hence, readers, hence The Key is NOT to simply read books about purity. It is NOT to dress modestly. It is NOT to have the right checks on the purity test.
Oh, no. It’s much much harder than that. And much much awesomer.
Are you ready?
No, really. ARE you?
I don’t think you are. I’m not. Too bad, I have to write it anyways. You don’t have to read it though. I’m giving you a chance. Be grateful.
Okay. This is IT. I have figured it out. *deep breath*
You seek God. With your WHOLE heart. You love God. With your WHOLE heart.
Well obviously, right? That’s like… the answer to everything.
See… when our heart learns to be enamored with the beauty of the Lord… when our spirit grows in communion with His… when His thoughts gradually become our thoughts… When our mind is filled with His Truth… when our ways are shaped into His ways…
We will be too busy loving and serving the One True God to have any idols. Or crushes, either.
So, my fellow sojourners on this wild journey called life: don’t focus on purity. Strive for it, yes. But not purity alone. That is rather a small goal, in a way. Hear me out! Don’t leave!!!
Yes, purity is a huge goal. Yet, there is a higher goal. And in reaching for that higher goal, then and only then can we hope to be pure.
And that goal is to know God more. Always more, never enough.
Point One: we can never be pure without the shed blood of Christ. It all starts with this: you can’t know God without it, and you can’t be pure without it, and you can’t see God if you aren’t pure (Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. Matthew 5:8), and yeah. You had better start here.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Hebrews 9:22
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:26
Point Two: we can never be pure if we continue to allow impure thoughts and things (Of any kind!! I am not simply talking about sexual/romantic things: I mean everything that is displeasing to the Lord.) in our hearts and lives. We must repent of them and do our best to remove them from us utterly.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
22Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 20:22
Point Three: Seek God!! Saturate yourself with songs, books, movies, people, thoughts, blogs, etc. etc. that will help you to fall more in love with Christ: things that will jerk your focus off of you, off of others (or rather “The One”) and onto Christ.
Read books like: “Crazy Love” “Dug Down Deep” “Humilty: True Greatness” “Mere Christianity” “Forgotten God” “Rees Howells: Intercessor” “Don’t Waste Your Life” “Living the Cross Centered Life” “E.M. Bounds on Prayer” “Wrestling Prayer” And so on and so forth.
Pray, hard and often. Ask God to help you to want Him more. Ask God to help you pray. Ask God to show you more of Himself. He will. He loves those prayers.
So turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.