Faith Identity

Purity of Heart and Mind-Part 1

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MW Editor’s Note. This is a 3-part series taken from a firepit talk at a recent Mentoring Warriors Mountain Man Colorado Adventure Trip. Purity in both heart and mind is essential for every man. Your manhood journey needs this. Excited to have you along for the journey together!

If we are going to talk about purity of heart and mind, we need to take a step back and look at the source of such purity. Where does purity come from and when it’s all boiled down, what is the basis for true purity?  

We live in such a me-first world where a majority of people define life by their own standards. What’s true for them is their truth. The old adage of relativism is pounding our world with chaotic standards of truth and purity. 

Recently, I overheard a conversation about levels of pornography; how a little bit of porn isn’t that bad. In fact, these men thought that getting their adolescent sons introduced to light porn would help them later on in learning how to have sex with women. One man was proud that he took his son to Hooters for his 16th birthday. 

Depending on your worldview, the above description may sound either atrocious or acceptable. Normal.

You can survey all 8+ billion people on the planet for their definitions of purity and none will be the game-changer standard. The bottom line is purity is defined by God. In fact, every aspect of His nature is pure. Another word to define such is holiness. God is holy. Sheer, utter holiness. Not one speck or microscopic hint of anything less than pure holiness. 

Isaiah said that God is “holy, holy, holy”. Whenever the Bible uses the same word in triplet succession like that, it emphasizes the ultimateness of that word. God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. You cannot get any holier (pure) than God. 

The sobering reality is, that you and I, apart from Christ, are not holy. There isn’t a cell in us that is pure. In fact, in Isaiah 64:6 we read that our best efforts are like filthy rags. To give you context, the original Hebrew text that Isaiah was written in means a very dirty cloth used for women during their monthly menstrual period. In Philippians 3:8, Paul says that his best efforts apart from Jesus are rubbish: the Greek word actually means dung. Human excrement. In our English translation, we soften it to rubbish. Ugh.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 ESV

The first step to getting out of this spiritual dung mess is through repentance, and trusting in the finished work of Christ. Without the work of Christ on the cross, there is no hope for humanity to change. None.

Here’s the issue with change. Without the supernatural power of God at work in you, change will not happen. I trusted Christ when I was 12. I recall pulling the top bunk bed blankets over my head and with all the fervor a pre-teen can muster, I asked Jesus into my life. I wanted no part of hell. Hell scared the heeby-jeebies out of me! The problem was and is for many of us, I tried to change to be more like Jesus, out of my own power. I tried harder, and to be gut-level honest, I was falling flat on my face. I became a very hypocritical teenager. I could put on the nice Jesus-boy face on Sundays, and carry my Bible to church, while the rest of the week I lived a secret rebellious life, even if it was mostly in my head.  I tried being good, but the lure of temptations, both from within and from my peers was dragging me into an abyss I couldn’t get out of on my own. I was trying to be a Christian and it was not working.


God made no provision for me to live the Christian life. Being pure is not up to me. Being holy is not up to my might. As we read in Romans 7, I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Jesus put a new desire in me, but pulling it off on my own strength was impossible.

The Christian life is a supernatural life, and it is meant to be lived by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. (We will discuss more about this in the talks to come), but I wanted to bring this up. The high calling God places in us towards purity is not to be construed as a list of Do’s and Don’ts. We read many passages in the New Testament about putting off our old sinful ways and putting on new ways. This is not a list to keep, but more of a relational lifestyle to pursue. An ongoing relationship with Jesus.

A few months ago, I flew to Washington, DC to meet with some men who are warriors when it comes to mentoring young men for Christ. David and Tim Coe are brothers who learned from their dad, Doug Coe. (Doug Coe met with President Eisenhower in the 1950s and initiated the National Prayer Breakfast.) Doug showed his sons not perfectly but increasingly, how to follow Jesus in a way that is not religious, not regimented with a long list of dos and don’ts, but in what would be best described as conversational intimacy with Jesus. So attuned to Jesus, that in any situation they face, they turn to him for how to handle it. The ultimate end is the furtherance of God’s holiness and purity in the hearts of the young men they mentor.  When the purity of God’s heart captures your heart, he fills you with his presence, and then you find yourself in a place where you can influence others with the same exact comfort purity, and care that Jesus has shown you.

David and Tim said that the young men who are part of their 9-month mentorship come from “Christian” homes. Albeit, these guys are broken, struggling with anger, entitlement, and often sexual confusion. David and Tim have a knack for sensing the hearts of these young men. They told the story of one small group gathering, where David caught the eye of one young man and asked “Are you struggling with same-sex attraction?”  The young man had the deer in the headlights look, and sheepishly admitted so.  What I appreciated was David’s response to this young man. He wasn’t condemning or rejecting or harsh with judgemental words to alienate him. David’s response was so Jesus-like. “We’ll love you through this. As you grow in Jesus, the temptation will dissipate.”

Listen very carefully to what I’m about to say. No one, not even Jesus, expects us to be 100% pure in our behavior the day we trust Him.  However, he promises to live in us and as we walk with him, the purity we have in him, positionally, will become increasingly evident in our lifestyles.

Come back next week as we continue with Part 2 of Purity of Heart and Mind.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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