For the last couple of weeks we’ve been tackling topics that are intertwined with personal holiness. Today we are going to talk about purity as it relates to holiness and we are gonna get real.
I have the privilege of introducing you to my friend Paula Ebert. Paula is a wife, mom, blogger, guitar player and baseball fanatic. We’ve only recently met, but I seriously think she and I were separated at birth! She has a deep -rooted faith in Jesus and is here to share a piece of her journey with us. You can follow Paula on Twitter, Facebook or catch with her on her blog Growwhereyoureplanted.com
Grab a seat on the couch…I know you will be challenged and encouraged by what Paula has to share.
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” – Mark 7:20-23 (ESV)
Purity and personal holiness begin on the inside. Who we become ultimately begins with what we allow ourselves to think and “feel.”
My passion for talking about purity stems from years of mistakes and struggles within my own life. You see, about eleven years ago, I almost destroyed my marriage.
I did everything I could to destroy it… but God had other plans…
I would say the downward spiral began in my teen years. I was raised in a Christian home with a family who took me to church every time the doors were opened. At the age of eleven, I walked down an aisle and accepted Christ.
I was the “good girl” to everyone at church who knew me. However, there was something else going on beneath the surface.
I’m wired a certain way. A creative. An artist… and with that comes a vivid imagination. A gift, yes. But if not channeled correctly, an imagination like mine can be dangerous.
For years, I allowed myself to think on things that were incredibly unhealthy. After all, losing myself in a fantasy world helped me forget that in “real life” I was not who I wanted to be. Selfishness and insecurity led me to try to “feel good” no matter what it took.
As the satisfaction of my fantasy world lessened, I began to experiment physically… all in the name of being loved and accepted.
At the very young age of 16, I gave away the gift of purity God had given me. And that was only the beginning of a terrible mess that wouldn’t end until I was in my late 20s.
Throughout those years, I gave away many pieces of myself that I will never be able to get back.
So I graduated high school, went to college, and later married… and my thought life continued to be filled with impurity.
As with any other addiction, thought cycle habits are not easy to break.
I finally hit the bottom about eleven years ago when I stepped out and was physically unfaithful to my husband. Of course, when it all came out, he asked me to leave.
At first I was just mad. At myself. At God. But the anger displayed itself in a stubborn, bitter wall that was anything but humble and repentant.
It was going to be a big job for God to soften me and bring me back around. But after two months of separation from my husband, God finally broke me. And my soulmate let me come back home.
Here’s the point to my story: the mistakes that came out in my public life all resulted from what was going on inside of me.
There were no boundaries. No responding to God’s call to disciplining my thought life. No “taking every thought captive to obey Christ,” as we are instructed to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
And because of the lack of attention I gave to my INNER life, my WHOLE life hit rock bottom.
Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who loved me with his broken heart and took me back, even through all of his pain. And the fact that we are together today cannot be explained in any earthly terms.
Only an almighty, powerful God like ours could have held this marriage together.
Eleven years later, I’m still human and I still struggle. Purity is hard. BUT God is good and He provides a way out. Every time.
There are boundaries set up inside my heart and mind, as well as boundaries in my relational life, to prevent spiraling downward and making mistakes again.
So as you process all of this today, I would encourage you to stop and really examine your inner life… your thought life.
We all have impure thoughts from time to time, but where do you dwell?
On healthy or unhealthy thoughts? Ask God to reveal to you any areas that need to be dealt with.
Then… confess, repent, and set up boundaries… inside and outside.
Cut anything out of your life that is a temptation and memorize scriptures that you can throw back at Satan when he tries to lure you back in.
Focus on Jesus and make Him the center of who you are.
After all, change happens from the inside out. Gotta be in that order. It’s the only way to personal holiness and purity.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8 (ESV)