“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
Pursuing a life of purity is not easy. Society bombards us with messages that seem anything but “pure”, “lovely”, or admirable”. We can face tough situations in which we don’t know what is right or what is wrong. Not everything is black and white. Christians are often known for what they don’t do rather than what they do.
2 Corinthians 6:6 says, “We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.”
God has definitely called us to a higher standard of purity, and these are the things we should be known for as Christians. So how do we decide what is acceptable to God with the choices we make? Here are a few easy questions you can ask when faced by a difficult decision.
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12
Is it lawful?
There are some things that are black and white in God’s Word. Some easy examples would be the 10 commandments. We are instructed not to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, etc. These things are not up for discussion. We are instructed to avoid them altogether.
Am I mastered by it?
One of the 10 commandments is that we should have nothing above God in our lives. When we do, these things become idols that keep us from God. Even good things can be idols: our relationships, family, money, etc. Things that are not necessarily bad can come between us and God.
You should also ask yourself the question “Am I mastered by it?” in relation to your activities, hobbies, and what you do with your friends… These things can control us rather than us controlling them.
This also means that even though you may have passed the “is it lawful” test, if you are mastered by something, it’s got to go
Is it beneficial for others?
This is the final question you need to ask. As Christians, we represent Christ. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are a picture of Christ and people WILL be watching you. So since we have all these people watching us; we need to be more aware of the things we do, places we go, movies we watch, drinks we drink, etc. What might be lawful is not always beneficial for others. If your decisions cause others to stumble and become confused, it’s not worth it. Also, think about your relationship with God. Even if it doesn’t hurt the relationship, does it bring you closer to Him?
1 Corinthians 10:23-24 says, “All things are lawful for me,but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
There are some things that we shouldn’t do, just for the sake of those watching us.
“But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol?” 1 Corinthians 8:9-10
When we partake in activities, we are showing our approval of those things. Actions speak louder than words. We must be careful that our behavior does not encourage others to sin, even if it is unintentional.
Going back to the first verse, the Bible says to think about things that are pure, lovely, excellent… do your thoughts and activities qualify?
I challenge you to ask these questions in all areas of life. In your activities, where you go, what you talk about, what you watch, and what you listen to. These questions will help you set up boundaries in your life to assist you in living the life of purity that we all are called to.