23 Apr Purity in Isolation
We have been turning away from talking the COVID-19 pandemic talk lately, but I want to focus on a specific isolation issue today. And it’s not just an issue of isolation because of the pandemic of COVID-19. The issue of purity and impurity within the church is one that has been dealt with in isolation far before any virus happened.
Sexual sin is often dealt with in isolation because of the shame and guilt it generally brings, leading to a vicious cycle of sin, guilt, confession, sin again. And this is generally done in isolation because the person who is in sin feels alone. So, what does that mean for us as we are living in an isolated world?
It means that far more men and women have more time to do these things, more access to the temptations that bring these things, and more ways to hide it. This presents a huge problem, because we know that God’s Word is very explicit that a person should be sexually pure outside of marriage, and faithful only to one’s spouse inside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7).
But knowing these principles does not change the fact that this is a real struggle for a lot of Christian men and women. The encouragement today is that there can be victory in this area, by the grace of God!
I want to encourage you, by the Scriptures, with how you can have victory in this. I know it’s a long season already, and you may already feel alone and defeated, but you do not have to stay there.
Psalm 119:9 says “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
The psalmist gives us the question and the answer. The way to stay pure is by guarding your heart and mind and way – here is the important part – according to His Word. I know that seems too easy. Shouldn’t there be more than a one step program? Well, doing this isn’t exactly easy…just ask those who have gone before you.
What does it mean to guard your way according to His Word? Well, I will give you three ways from the Bible that show us how to guard our ways from sexual impurity.
The first is in Matthew 5:27-30. In this text, Jesus tells us that looking at people with lust is the same as committing adultery, and that it is better to gouge out your eye and enter heaven than enter hell with that impure eye and the rest of your body. How can we gouge out our eyes? There are a lot of apps that allow you to view graphic content, and you need to delete them off of your phone. I don’t want to give you an entire list just in case you don’t know them. But you know if you have one of these apps and you view explicit images, you need to get rid of that.
The next text is Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Solomon helps us here to understand the importance of not being alone. If one falls, the other can lift him up. A threefold cord is not easily broken. Here is the principle for those struggling with this. You need accountability. Just because you’re isolated doesn’t mean that you need to struggle alone. Sin loves to stay in darkness, but that is not the plan Christ has for your life! Christ wants sin confessed and repented of so that you can have victory in your life – the same victory that He won on the cross! Do whatever you must to get some accountability. Pay for software, even if that means you have to sacrifice buying a coffee every day. We recommend a company that created accountability software for Christians called “Covenant Eyes” – www.covenanteyes.com). All our staff have this on their computers and phones, as it is a good place to start. Have someone able to access and check your browsing history. Get someone you trust to pray for you and also be able to admonish you if you fail. The Christian life is not meant to be done alone (we are all longing to be together!), and this sin is not meant to be struggled with alone.
Finally, and most importantly, let’s look at Mark 7:14-23. Here Jesus says that it is what is in the heart that defiles a person. So, while the changes are important, like getting accountability and cutting certain things off, the most important thing is that you have a changed heart, which only the Lord is able to do. But we have a part in this, too! Sanctification is not magic, and it is not passive. We need to seek God for this. Psalm 51 is all about David asking for a clean heart because of his sin. Ezekiel 36 tells us that God will give us new hearts so that we may obey His statutes. God will do this in our lives, He will sanctify us in this area, we can have victory, but only by seeking Him!
Friends, you can have purity in isolation. You must fight for it and seek Him as if your very life depends on it, and you must take steps to do everything you can to not sin. However, knowing it is the Spirit who changes you, you must also rest in this, believing that the Lord will work for His glory and your good.