Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)
Here's a question for ladies (and men, too): What if we were required to dispose of every piece of fake jewellery in our homes and keep only what is solid gold or pure gem? What would remain? Probably very little. But here's the real question: How we would feel about giving up our cache of necklaces and things? How would we react to such a request? Our response would depend on what matters to us — our real motives. That response matters to God more than the purity of our jewellery.
Let's admit it: Fake jewellery looks quite fine. For esthetic value, it does the job; it doesn't matter how it's made. But that's not true for God's people. You and I are not made to be mere ornaments, showpieces for Christianity. We are designed to endure life's struggles with steadfast faith, through hardship, testings, betrayals, rejection, times of need, and times of plenty. We are designed for a faith as pure as gold that can withstand the fire.
Impure devotion will not endure. That is why the apostle Paul was so concerned about the early church when he wrote:
2 Corinthians 11:3 – But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (NIV)
These Christians could not see this bent in themselves. We may not see it in ourselves; but God knows:
Proverbs 16:2 – All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. (NIV 2011)
Impure desires will always squelch our hunger for the pure. So, at various points in life, God requires us to stop and take inventory. That's when we see the fakes, the impure: faulty expectations, impure motives, or idolatrous longings. It might be nostalgic sentiment. It could be a habit or a commitment which requires us to compromise our devotion to God. It could be our longing to be accepted, causing outer impression to matter too much — including, perhaps, our fake jewellery. As we surrender the impurities, our devotion to God becomes more and more pure.
To God, purity of heart matters. It mattered to King David when he wrote, "Create in me a pure heart, O God." David was inviting God to work in his life and wash away all forms of impurity — all pretence, false trusts, and compromising motives. This is the kind of prayer that God hears and answers, because it reflects God's will. It demonstrates a hunger for pure devotion to God. The heart is fully turned towards God.
Giving up the impure may feel like giving up beloved fake jewellery. We'll feel terribly plain and unadorned, less spiritual than before. We'll feel more impure than ever, having been sensitized to our spiritual poverty. But in this condition, we will seek, with every fibre of our being, the most precious jewel of all — the pearl of great price:
Matthew 13:45-46 – Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear God, create within us a longing for pure devotion to You — with not one impurity standing in the way. Amen.
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