Pure in Spirit

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

The topic for my most recent bible study was purity — not just sexual, but more so the motives of our heart. Coincidentally, today’s reading from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, was also about purity. He says that when our hearts are left to their own devises, what proceeds from them are evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornications, false witnesses, blasphemies and that list of ugly things noted in Matthew and 2 Corinthians. Whoa! I don’t do THOSE things, but…

Without the Holy Spirit, we are constrained only either by cowardice (would I really act on my thoughts if I was more brave!?), or that we are constrained by living in a civilized society (so grateful for the morality set in place by our forefathers).

Sometimes I question my motives like am I being manipulative or prideful or selfish. Those I don’t like, but they are “acceptable sins” if there is such a thing. But when we let the Holy Spirit penetrate our heart, we’re appalled at how evil we really are. The Spirit of God uncovers our self-exoneration and excuses and makes us sensitive to things we never recognized, let alone admitted before. We begin to realize how much we need the kind of cleansing that only comes from Him.

Proverbs 16:2 says, Everything a person does seems pure in his own opinion, but the Lord weighs intentions. So I prayerfully repeat O God… see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The Word

Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3).

 Did you notice that this verse is from the Old Testament? You probably recognize it from when Jesus quoted it to rebuke Satan’s temptations. There are so many lessons to be learned from the context of this quote in the Old Testament, but I’d like to focus of Jesus (yes, I would). He had the power of the Creator of the Universe at His fingertips, but He, the Son of God, fought the enemy with scripture.

Have you ever seen those bookmarkers that have a scripture for every need (when you’re lonely, depressed, scared…)? Don’t take it lightly; that is our arsenal. His words are powerful.

When I think of the power of my own words to produce joy, anger, hurt, love, I can on a small, small scale begin to grasp the immeasurable power of proclaiming the words of God.

Both Masterpiece and Work in Progress

But those whose hope is in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Is 40:31). 

From time to time, the Lord convicts me of things that I need to work on and change. And when I say “I” need to change, I actually mean that “He” has to change me. That definitely does not get me off the hook though. Although He could zap me into the perfect wife, mother, or friend, in His wisdom that is not how He works.

Easy lessons unfortunately are more quickly forgotten. Most things of great value come to us through struggle. They take self-discipline and persistence on our part, but He provides the power and strength to overcome and conquer.

It is so very true that we shouldn’t be quick to judge others because everyone has a struggle or burden. But blessed are those who have trust in the Lord because our ally is wise, loving, powerful, and will lead us on the most effective path to overcoming.

 

The Former Things

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (Is 43:16)

 Guilt is a gift…from the Deceiver.

Just as God, in His nature cannot lie, Satan is the Father of Lies. He has planted many deceitful thoughts and feelings in our minds in the course of our lives They can come from our parents, our government, even our church, and of course, ourselves.

I pray that the light of truth will expose them and we’ll uncover and discover more and more truth each day.

We have all had failings. There is not one that God won’t forgive. And dwelling on our past failures sabotages the future!

Fighting the past is a spiritual battle. Trust in His Word which says, “See, I’m doing a new thing.”

When  guilt rears its ugly head, recognize it for what it is, pray,  and move on.

Living Victoriously

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can bear (1 Cor 10:13a).

 

 

If you are human, you will be tempted. When Jesus assumed human form, He too was tempted in the same way we are. The deceiver tempted Him with lusts of the flesh—He was hungry (40 days’ worth) and was tempted with food. How often am I too, tempted with covetous desires; with envy.

Jesus was tempted with pride, and as the Son of God, He had every right, but didn’t succumb. My pride can’t so easily be justified.

 

 Christ was tempted to question the goodness and care of the Father. Have you ever questioned God? The enemy is subtle; deception is his game. But Jesus didn’t yield to distrust or any temptation. And we too can resist.

 

His word promises-with every temptation, He will also provide a way of escape. And He who promises is faithful.