The word “pure” draws me to different places, especially growing up as a Christian in the modern American church. I most clearly remember this buzzword used in the context of abstinence and marriage, staying pure for the man or woman who was to walk into your life one day. Soon there became this pressure around “pure”, this strict standard to measure up to, this constant pressure of good enough, holy enough, perfect enough so that one person can love you, cherish you, and keep you company for the moments and days and years ahead.
What I’ve been learning the past few years, and especially today, as I contemplate the concept of true purity, is that it is so much bigger than what I was taught all those years. Purity became too big, too important to be stuffed primarily into the box of marriage and sex. There had to be something deeper, something more satisfying for my soul to grab on to because purity mainly for the sake of a temporary, possible marriage I’m not promised in the first place was not cutting it.
I love and believe in the reality and meaning of purity in the context of marriage and although I have not experienced it for myself, I truly hope to someday. But in the broader context of my life as a Christian right now, I need more than the connotation my mind jumps to every time I hear the word.
So, as I focus on purity, the real, honest, weighted purpose of purity, 1 John 3:3 allows me some new perspective:
“And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure”
Purity matters because Jesus is pure. Our journey towards purity simply because we desire to be like Jesus is truly enough. It’s a process of refinement, of learning to chip away the hurt and pain and misconceptions we learn every day for the purpose of mirroring the person and characteristics of Jesus Christ in every moment.
I think this process of refinement towards purity can look surprisingly normal. It’s the small, internal decisions that allow us to consistently endure towards purity. The moments when we choose to forgo critical thoughts or comments towards another, of choosing forgiveness over anger, of choosing to be gracious and choosing to serve the person next to us at any present moment. In these moments we choose to put our hope in Christ, trusting that the intentional decisions He calls us to make truly lead us to the richest, most fulfilling life we could imagine; a pure life that reflects Jesus.
A vital aspect to the reality of purifying ourselves as Jesus is pure exists through the love and grace we receive from Him when we do think or say those critical comments, when we forget to serve the person next to us and when we choose anger over forgiveness. This abundant amount of love and grace and forgiveness allows us the freedom to repent and try again thousands of times over. This reality makes the process less rigid and more attainable, less about what I have to do and measure up to and more about who I already am and what has already been attained for me through Christ on the Cross.
Today I am choosing purity because I desire a life that reflects Jesus. My hope is in Him and His victory allows me the freedom to repent when I inevitably fail, to press on towards a purified life. I hope you find life and meaning in this reality, that your hope in Jesus leads to authentic purity.