To Be Pure…

 

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In Titus 3:5-6 Paul instructs older women to teach what is good so younger women can learn to be… pure!  Did you catch that?  Purity is something that is learned!

Contrast this with the popular thought that purity is something to be retained, something you don’t want to lose.

But scripture makes it clear “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) and David even says in Psalm 51:5, “Surly I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”  It’s so easy to look at an adorable baby and think he or she is a blank slate, entering the world pure, but that’s not what scripture teaches.  In Isaiah 64:6 we’re told even our righteous acts are like filthy rags!

The Greek word used here for purity is ἀγνος which means “pertaining to being without moral defect or blemish and hence pure.” (Louw and Nida).  It is closely related to ἀγιος which means “pertaining to being holy in the sense of superior moral qualities and possessing certain essentially divine qualities in contrast with what is human —‘holy, pure, divine.”

So how does one learn to be like this?

In John 1:29 when John the Baptist sees Jesus coming towards him he exclaims, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  And 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus Christ God’s son cleanses us from all sin.”  And 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just, to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   Purity comes from Jesus! You learn to be pure by learning to run to Him and receive the cleansing that only He can give.

So here is the reality – if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.  (2 Corinthians 5:17) After David commits adultery with Bathsheba then arranges the murder of her husband, when he finally repents he exclaims, “Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:7

Do you realize if you have entered into a relationship with Jesus, you have been made whiter than snow?  You are pure.

But there’s someone who doesn’t want you to get this!  The enemy knows if he can get you to keep seeing yourself as an impure mess, it’s much easier to get you to fall and isolate you.

A few months ago I cringed in horror as Anna on Downton Abbey was raped.  And if that wasn’t bad enough it was heartbreaking to go all month watching the effects of this on her relationship with her husband Bates.  She even moved out of their house!  When he finally discovers the truth, she shares she didn’t tell him because she was embarrassed and felt soiled.  But what a difference it makes in their relationship when he takes her in his arms affirming he doesn’t see her that way at all!  What we believe about ourselves really makes a huge difference in our relationships!

So please get this – ever since the Fall (Genesis 3) no one, other than Jesus, is born pure!  There is only one way we can be made pure and continue pure and that is through Jesus.

In the next few posts we’ll look at practical ways older women can help younger women learn do this!

Discipling Like Jesus… part 1

One of the best ways to learn what to do with someone when you are discipling them is to look at Jesus’ life and note what he taught his disciples.  There is so much to learn from His example – not only about content but also how to pass treasure on.

For example, consider Luke 11:1-13…

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

             “Father, hallowed be your name.

             Your kingdom come.

3              Give us each day our daily bread,

4              and forgive us our sins,

                        for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

             And lead us not into temptation.”

 5   And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

In a recent one on one I read this passage with a friend, then asked her to take a few moments and answer the following questions (it’s helpful if you create a chart with three columns, with one question from below heading each column):

  1. What can you learn about discipling from this interaction between Jesus and His disciples?
  2. For each observation, consider:  Why do you think Jesus did this?
  3. How could you apply this when you are discipling the women you meet with?

It’s pretty fascinating if you take the time to do this!  Why not take a few moments right now and dive in?!  ;0)

Learning to Learn

The original goal of a liberal arts education was to equip people so that by the time they graduated from college they would know how to study any topic on their own.  That’s why it’s called “Liberal Arts” – because the goal was to liberate people from needing someone to teach them!

Ever wonder why in college you have to take so many courses “you’re never going to use?”  It stems from this educational philosophy.  The goal wasn’t to cram content in, but to equip you with as many different learning tools possible since there are different ways of learning different topics.  Studying biology requires different tools than learning physics!

I was blessed to be discipled by Barb Choate for two years when I was in college.  But you know, Barb didn’t teach me all I needed to know for walking with Jesus these past 30 years.  What she did was lay a foundation, helping me learn how to learn from Jesus so I could keep following Him.

All those spiritual disciplines – they are not ends in themselves, but ways of learning to learn – of helping you show up for Jesus to teach you.

Having a quiet time? That’s learning to listen – a foundational part of the learning process – it all starts here!

Scripture memory?  That’s learning to remember – another key part of learning!

Fasting?  That’s learning to focus!

Praying? That’s learning to ask questions and interact with your teacher! :0)

Bible study?  That’s learning how to observe, interpret and apply!!!  Especially when you teach how to inductively study God’s Word.

So don’t feel like it all depends on you to teach someone everything they need to know when you are meeting with them. And be careful you don’t disciple in a way that promotes the person you meet with becoming dependent on you!  (btw that’s a quote from my husband!  :0) Instead, equip her with tools, helping her learn to learn from Jesus and you will be laying a foundation for a lifetime of learning!