This is part 4 of the 6-week Summer Soul Refresher series from BGEA. Catch up on part 1: Whatever Is True, part 2: Whatever Is Honorable and part 3: Whatever Is Just.
Whether overwhelmed and distressed by current events or consumed with issues in our personal lives, it doesn’t take much to clutter our minds with worry, negativity and cynicism.
That’s why this summer we’re focusing on Philippians 4:8:
“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.”
This week, we’re highlighting whatever is pure.
In May, Franklin Graham gathered more than 600 persecuted Christians and advocates at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians in Washington, D.C., and addressed the moral/purity issue head on.
“In the name of tolerance Christians are often treated with intolerance, because they stand for moral purity, and they stand for God’s truth,” he told the 130 countries represented at the World Summit.
So what does it mean to think on or strive for purity? Here are some ideas:
Start with the Heart
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” —Psalm 51:10
How do you get a pure heart? It begins with making Jesus the center of your life.
We’re all sinners (Romans 3:10, 23), meaning we say, do and think things that we shouldn’t—or that we don’t say, do and think things we should. Sin can overtake pure thoughts and motives, yet the Bible tells us those who follow Christ should be like Him (1 John 2:6), and He set the perfect example of a pure life (1 Peter 2:22). But can anyone live up to that?
When we turn away from our sins and commit our lives to Jesus, He wipes the slate clean and presents us to God “holy and blameless” (Colossians 1:22).
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
>> The first step toward a pure heart is having a relationship with Jesus. Take that step now.
>> Read this short devotion from Billy Graham about being pure of heart.
Don’t Neglect Your Spiritual Life
“Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…” —1 Peter 2:2
We all have to eat to sustain us physically. It’s the same with our spiritual lives. To grow spiritually, we need nourishment, which the Bible refers to as “pure spiritual milk.”
What feeds the soul? Talking to God (prayer), reading His words to us in the Bible, going to church to learn and spend time with other believers, and sharing our faith.
>> Hear Billy Graham talk about the four main ways to grow spiritually.
Take Stock of Your Thoughts, Actions & Speech
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” —1 John 1:9
Focusing on pure things in an impure world isn’t easy. We’re all tempted by people and things that could lead us down the wrong path, but we don’t have to give in.
Keep your thoughts in check by avoiding anything that triggers or promotes negativity or immorality. Be careful what media you consume—TV shows, movies, songs and social media—and be mindful of the people you spend time with. If you’re questioning whether you should act on a certain thing, ask yourself, “Are my motives pure?”
Keeping tabs on your speech can go a long way, too. James 3 warns us against praising God and cursing those made in His likeness with the same tongue. Ephesians 4:29 adds, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
>> Get tips for overcoming temptation as you strive for pure thoughts and actions.
>> Read this short devotion from Billy Graham on taming the tongue.
Care for Your Body
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” —1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Philippians 4 urges us to think on whatever is pure. That applies to how we treat our bodies, too. Purity is more than waiting until marriage; it can refer to the way we treat our bodies in general.
Even if you’ve neglected your body in the past, it’s not too late to start taking care of it. Think about the things you put in your body (what you eat), how you let others treat it and how you view it yourself. Do you see your body as handcrafted by God and meant for His glory? Our bodies may not be perfect, but we can still try to keep them pure. (*Are you struggling with past physical abuse? Find encouragement.*)
>> How concerned should we be about our health? Read Billy Graham’s response.