As I was talking with my accountability group a couple weeks ago I noticed how often we used the term “purity.” In our between meeting texts and phone calls I noticed myself asking about their purity, meaning specifically, are they acting out. The Holy Spirit suggested that I may be minimizing a very important aspect of not only our striving for freedom from addiction but also of the bigger picture – our Christian walk. With that prompting rattling around in my heart I decided to consult “Webster” (ok, Dictionary.com) to get a working definition. Then I searched my YouVersion app.
1. Free from anything of a different, inferior or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter;
2. Unmodified by an admixture; simple ,or homogenous.
3. Of unmixed descent or ancestry.
4. Free from foreign or inappropriate elements.
5. Clear; free from blemishes.
6. Straightforward; unaffected.
7. Pure science.
8. Without any discordant quality; clear and true.
9. Absolute; utter; sheer: to sing for pure Joy.
10. Being that and nothing else.
11. Clean, spotless or unsullied.
12. Untainted with evil; innocent.
13. Physically chaste; virgin.
14. Ceremonially or ritually clean.
15. Free of or without guilt.
1. The condition or quality of being pure;
2. Freedom from anything that debases, contaminates, pollutes, etc.
The other seven definitions are the state of being for the above definitions.
Depending on the version I used my search for “pure” had as many as 1,177 references in the Old Testament and 656 in the New Testament (I like the Amplified version). It’s a worthy endeavor to do the reading yourself but here are a few:
1. The building of God’s Ark, Tabernacle and Temple: Exodus chapters 25-39; Leviticus 24; 1 Kings Chapters 6-10; 2 Chronicles Chapters 4 & 9;
2. A purity of heart and life: The entire book of Job; The Psalms; Proverbs;
3. Pure of heart, offering, gift, devotion, desire, blameless, set apart, marriage bed: Matt. 5:8; Mark 14:3 & John 12:3; 2 Cor. 11:2-3; Philippians (all); Heb. 7:26 & 13:4; James 1:2, 1:27, 3:17 and 1 John 3:3
In addiction groups we talk a lot about purity. Purity from lust. Purity from acting out. Purity from adultery. Purity from pornography. And we should. Those things are all well and good but I think they’re insufficient to bring about the true freedom for which we hunger and were created. Purity isn’t something we strive for merely to get out from under an addiction or so we can tick off a box on our Christian to do list. It’s so much more.
Purity is a lifestyle. It’s being free from any contamination, free from mixing with anything not of God, clear, free of blemishes, clean, unsullied, untainted. It’s the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 rolled up into one word. It’s being honest, truthful, living in reality, open, vulnerable, transparent, loving, gentle, intimate and self-controlled (in all things). It is peace and joy and forbearance (grace to others). It’s Godly. It’s being like Him, in His image. It’s being like Jesus. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Gal. 5:24.
So the next time you ask someone, “How’s your purity?” don’t settle for an answer as deep as a rain puddle. Press in for a deeper answer: a swimming pool and then a lake and then the unfathomable ocean depths. When you’re asked, go deep. Trust. Be vulnerable and transparent. The freedom you seek and were created to experience is yours. God promised and He is good to His Word. Always.