The title of this blog is actually kind of silly… there are well over 750,000 words in the Bible. Every one is important because each has been intentionally placed by and delivered from the Creator of the Universe as a gift to humanity.
One of the most amazing aspects of the Good Book is how you can read something many times and never catch anything “big”. It is also incredible how a few seemingly insignificant words embody and suggest so much about both our struggle with the flesh and our relationships with the world, others, and Christ.
Earlier this week I read through James. The close of Chapter 1 has six simple words that have been resounding in my mind and heart all week like low and overwhelmingly powerful hum of a gong in a symphonic performance. Who knows how many times I have read this and never thought twice about it.
James 1: 26-27: 26If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
… “Keep Oneself Unstained from the World”
Those words should change how I make decisions in life and speak to how desperately I need the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers we are made pure and holy only through the sacrifice of Christ. In Him alone, we are “unstained” before God. The assumption in our rebirth as Believers is that we are unstained, and the charge is to submit to the Holy Spirit so we can remain unstained. Our purity and Holiness only exists in and because of Christ.
“Keeping oneself unstained from the World” answers many questions about the activities and thoughts with which I should desire to engage. Below are just a few areas of potential “stain”:
- Media & entertainment I choose to experience (books, movies, TV shows, magazines, video games, etc)
- Events I choose attend
- Places I choose to go
- Conversations I engage in
- Political ideologies I consider or accept
- How I talk about people
The complete list is obviously infinite. The slippery slope conclusion resolves to secluding ourselves from the world, however this is FALSE. The verse reminds us of who we are only in Christ, to be vigilant, and is a reminder of how much we should holistically depend on and yield to the Spirit.
However, it would not hurt to remind ourselves of a few commands from scripture regarding being “in the world”
1 John 2:15-17 … 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
John 17:14-19 … 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
With the power, reach, and presence of mass media, it is easy to maintain a lack of awareness of how our purity is progressively eroded. We surely are not devoid of opportunities for stain. It is easy to laugh at slight vulgarity, cheer for slight gruesomeness, become interested in voyeurism / gossip, or waste time in the name of “relaxation”.
As a Man, I Must Guard & Protect My Family from Stains
If I accept the charge to “keep oneself unstained”, I will choose to not engage in those activities or experiences that offer ANY impurity. Ideally my heart and Spirit will be repulsed by those things. Why would we want to engage in activities that do not glorify God or grow us closer to Him? As a small example, why would I watch movies that could attack my mental, spiritual, or emotional purity? How can I laugh at or consume anything that deserves the wrath of and separates humanity from God?
As a husband and, God willing, one day… a Father. This provides a great foundation for how I lead, serve, and protect my family. I must guard and protect my family from stains. God will hold me accountable to that on Judgment Day. Wow… what a responsibility. I must lead by example. I must seek purity as a way to serve my amazing wife.
Christ’s purity, love, and sacrifice are unfathomable.
- What is something you chose to experience last week that stained you?
- What is something you are scheduled to experience this week that could further stain you? Will you change your plans? Why or why not?
- How can you protect your family from stains?