We covered our calling in a verse or two. We heard that each of us has a calling and that we shouldn’t find excuses not to live that calling. Part of our calling is to be an example to others by what we say and do. Obviously, the point of departure here is love and how that is expressed in our faith. We now conclude this short course with the last characteristic: purity.
Let’s read verse 12 again from The Living Bible: Don’t let anyone think little of you because you are young. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live; be a pattern for them in your love, your faith, and your clean thoughts.
I was thinking about the meaning of the word ‘purity’ for quite a while. Later I got up and went for a walk through the camping site where we were spending the holidays. Walking past the washing lines, I saw a pair of white pants hanging on the line. I wondered who would go camping with snow-white pants. In the bush everything gets dirty very quickly, especially if there had been some rain. Then the dust quickly turns into mud.
That must be why they had such big washing machines at the camping site. Those where you put a few R5 coins into the slot and when you push the plate with the R5 coins forward, the machine starts grumbling. And there is no soft setting for delicate wash … the pants with the dirty mud spatters came out clean and sparkling white.
I suspect that is what our lives should look like too: pure, clean, snow-white, with no spots at all.
The original Greek word that is used here is hagneia, which firstly indicates a sexually clean life. We must not permit the sexual part of our lives to become full of spots. If you are still unmarried, refrain from sex with your partner, even if you are going to be married. Ensure that you come to your spouse pure, because that is how God wants it to be.
Also make sure that you do not dirty your white clothes with pornography. Today it is so easily available. On our computers and our phones and even in our friends’ WhatsApp messages. Each of us is responsible for keeping our sexual clothes clean.
The original Greek word can also be translated with holiness. It means to be kept apart for God. We must live like children of God set apart especially for Him. The things we do must bear witness to this. We must ensure that we are physically clean. Morally, we must walk the straight and narrow road, and spiritually, we must be set apart for God. This is the example we must set for the people around us. This is our calling.
But why, of why, must there always be a ‘but’. But … when I look at my life … I’m sure the picture that comes to mind when you look at your life is also not always that bright. The spots, o, the spots!
But we shouldn’t become discouraged. We should know that we’ll get dirty in this temporary campsite of life. However, we shouldn’t use this as an excuse, but rather as an encouragement so that every time we get a spot, we’ll go to the heavenly washing machine so that our sins can be washed away.
May this be an encouragement to us to walk carefully through the camp of life so that we’ll pick up fewer spots. May we show the other campers how children of God should live.
Where do those spots come from?
What do you have to do with them?
How can you prevent them from returning?
Lord, please help me to avoid the things that will leave dirty spots on my being. Please help me to live in such a way that You will smile about every good choice I make in obedience to You. Amen.