Faith Identity

Purity of Heart and Mind-Part 2

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MW Editor’s note: If you missed last week’s post on Purity of both heart and mind, check it out. Today is the second part of what purity inside and out means for a man. We pick up on the difference between purity of behavior and the purity a man has in Christ as a position of his inheritance by faith. Follow along.

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.

Let me give you an example from 1 Corinthians 6. Paul wrote the Christians in Corinth something extremely significant.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Corinth was a city in Greece (still there today). It is west of Athens and was known as a very idolatrous place. Sexual perversions of every kind were present. There were temples in Corinth where people would have sex with others in front of the idols; orgies, homosexual acts, and even pedophilia. (In ancient Greek culture, it was believed that older men had to teach young adolescent boys how to have sex by having sex with them.) It was a very evil city. And yet, through Paul, many of those Corinthian citizens came to faith in Christ. Some of Paul’s issues with the believers there were they would sometimes stop by the temples for sex while on their way to church. In their behavior, they had not given up their old ways.

Paul loved them dearly and knew that in the split-second they each trusted Jesus, they got 100% of the Holy Spirit. That was not the issue. The issue was growing in their conversational intimacy with Jesus, such that their new heart of purity was reflected in their lifestyles.

Paul explains it this way. 

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Newsflash!  If you are in Christ, your sin no longer defines you! You and I are on Paul’s first list. We have made many choices that we now regret. We each have our own pile of filthy rags and rubbish. But, in Christ, we are washed, sanctified, and justified. Those are supernatural words with extremely practical effects on our day-to-day lives. 

Washed: Absolutely, totally, clean. Not a speck of sin on you. In Christ, positionally holy. Pure.

Sanctified: Set apart. Endowed with a purpose. Called to be a part of God’s plan for bringing His image to this Earth.

Justified: Totally just. Righteous. Innocent. No guilt. In the same league as Jesus. Not deity, but one of his beloved brothers. A son of God our Father.

So, let’s say you’ve made the choice to repent and follow Jesus. It doesn’t matter where you made that decision; at camp, in your bedroom, at church, at a coffee shop with a friend, on a hike, in the middle of a crisis, or on a bright, sunshiny day. At that moment, you supernaturally were given a new heart and spirit. Ezekiel 36 speaks of God giving us a new heart. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we read about the old passing away and the new coming. You are a new creation in Christ whether you feel like it or not. Rest in that reality.

The good news is the positional purity you have in Christ is yours to be experienced!  In fact, it will shape the core of your character. 

I love Galatians 2:20. It’s my life verse. It means so much to me that I have a tattoo on my chest.  It goes like this, ” I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life. I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Being pure is not a matter of trying harder. It’s a matter of yielding more to the Spirit. By the act of your will, you cooperate with what God wants to do in your life and through your life. And that will always, always focus on purity. Holiness.

One of the greatest purity challenges we see at Mentoring Warriors circles around various forms of sexual immorality. Pornography is high on the list even for guys that love Jesus.  As David and Tim Coe say (tongue in cheek) the rate is 102%!  Mentoring young men about godly sexuality happens in open conversations in safe environments where legitimate questions ranging from biology to understanding how our maleness drives us,  to romancing a woman, to sexual intimacy are discussed with total honesty.

What we’ve seen is young men fall for sexual impurities because they are trying to self-medicate a wound independent of giving that wound to Jesus. That was my story. It might be yours. As a young man grows in his identity in Christ, acquiescing to sexual temptations subsides over time. Their heart for purity grows as they see the value of bringing all aspects of their manhood to Jesus.

To help with the maturing process we at Mentoring Warriors use two helpful tools.  24-hour rules and pre-emptive strikes.

Because accountability is about restoration, not condemnation, a 24-hour rule helps a man be courageously vulnerable. Shortly after he falls for porn or other sexual acts (i.e. within 24 hours), he reaches out to his mentor with what happened.  Discovering how those temptations are connected to wounds in his heart, he can spot the triggers early on. That leads to pre-emptive strikes, which help shift one’s point of pain from misuse of their sexuality toward healthier ways Jesus has for our sexuality. 

(As a side note, in the Mentoring Warriors book is a section on Jesus’ sexuality. Hebrews 4:14-16 says He was tempted in every way just as we are and yet was able to treat his body, his hormones, and his desires in a way that glorified God, with all purity.)

I’ve personally seen young men entrenched in sexual addictions find their way to not just sexual healing but to a deeper manhood character than ever before.  I am not justifying the sin but through that open, honest struggle I mentioned earlier in a close-knit community of mentors and brothers in Christ can actually strengthen their resolve for purity and victory.

Hang around one more week as we wrap up this fire-pit talk about 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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