Women of Purity

  

By Gina Harris

What does purity look like in a woman? How does a woman of purity act, dress, think, and feel? And what does she do? TODAY WE WILL LOOK AT some of THE ATTRIBUTES OF A WOMAN OF PURITY. I hope that we will come away with more of an idea of what God has called us as women to be.

Webster's dictionary defines purity as being free from or unmixed with any other matter.

In the Old Testament, the basic sense of the Hebrew word for purity (niqqayon) is probably an emptying out or being clean. The verb appears about 40 times, most occurrences with an ethical, moral, or forensic sense. Purity is opposed to being guilty. It stands over against such conduct or attitudes as unfaithfulness to God's covenant, rebellion against God's law and idolatry. Purity consists of "clean hands," innocence, and an empty stomach. Purity is related to guiltless, blameless, or innocent behavior.

In the New Testament, there is little emphasis on ritual purity. The focus is on moral purity or purification: chastity, innocence in one's attitude toward members of the church, and moral purity or uprightness. Purity is associated with understanding, patience and kindness, speech, life, love, faith, and reverence.

So let's look more closely at some of these attributes:

"...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
Titus 2:3-5

Reverent Behavior

A woman of purity must have reverent behavior. What does that look like? Reverent behavior is essential to godly living. It summons us to an all-consuming commitment to God. God asks that our relationship with Him be the catalyst that creates behavior befitting one who has a relationship with the living God. He wants our actions to be reverent, godly, worshipful, and holy.

So what is reverent behavior? Reverent means being sacred and appropriate in character. Behavior is our conduct. So putting together reverent behavior is aligning our conduct and manner with our love for the living God. A woman who approaches everything in her life from the standpoint that the God she loves and serves is paramount to everything else in her life. God will bless you beyond anything this fallen world has to offer and then some, when you seek to be consumed with Him, to love Him supremely, to follow Him fully, and to fill your heart and mind, soul and spirit with His holy Word and holy thoughts of Him.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? I do. I was giddy all the time. All I wanted to do was think about him and every one of his characteristics and all of his attributes. I doted on his every word. I thought he was probably the greatest person that ever lived. That's how God wants you to be with him – to have an all-consuming passion for Him to the exclusion of everything else. However, it won't fizzle out with God and He won't disappoint you. When we put all our energy in people, they will disappoint us, but God will not. If you have this kind of passion for the Lord, you will have reverent behavior. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things."Â Philippians 4:8

Purity of Heart

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

The pure in heart are those who with all their being seek to remain free of every form of the defilement of sin. I think too many Christians today do not seek with all their being or even half for that matter, to be free from sin. I think we have copped a lackadaisical attitude toward sin in the name of grace and actually have taken advantage of grace as a sort of license to sin. I myself have sinned and then thought about Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Then I would go my merry way absolving myself completely. There definitely is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus, but this scripture cannot be used to justify bad behavior. We have to get back to truly repenting for our sins and have the whole-hearted desire not to offend God anymore and treat His grace cheaply.

God places great value on being clean, especially in terms of purity of heart. It's easy to become defiled, whereas remaining "pure" requires constant vigilance, discipline, and a clear vision of what lies before us to keep us on track. You must examine yourself constantly.

  • Is your work and service done from selfless motives or for selfish motives?
  • Is your church going a sincere attempt to meet with God or is it an obligation?
  • Are your prayers and bible study a heartfelt desire to commune with God or is it a required duty?
  • Do you have a conscious need of God, or are you just seeking comfort in your own piety?

Women, do you see how we can get things convoluted if our motives are not sincere and are not pure? You must look at your motives honestly and this is humbling. We realize our shortcomings and are embarrassed that we aren't all that we thought we were. However, Christ's promise in Matthew 5:8 is well worth whatever effort and humility it takes. Keep 1 Corinthians 7:1 in mind when you ponder what we have learned. "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

A worm in an apple – how does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from the inside. How does he get in there? Simple. An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart through the person's thoughts, word, and actions. For this reason, David once wrote, "create in me a clean heart, O God."

Purity of Speech

As we discussed, we are to be women reverent in behavior. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects God at the center of our lives. We are not to be gossips or slanderers. The biblical word slanderer comes from the Greek word "diabolos" and means malicious gossip, slanderer, or false accuser and usually has hostile intent. Therefore, that means it is evil and very against God. God hates sin and gossip is sin. "Let the words of my mouth...be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Simply put, don't talk about other sisters or even non-believers or gossip to them. What kind of example are we to non-believers if we are clucking like a hen about someone else? This is not glorifying to God, nor does it edify you or the other person. It is of Satan and is very damaging and you cannot – I repeat, cannot, take it back, ever. So if you know something about somebody, so what, keep it to yourself. Women of purity do not enjoy gossiping but rather enjoy building others up. Enough said about gossip.

Godly speech also includes the tone we use and the words we use. First, as women of God, we do not need to be loud, brash, or obnoxious. In addition, a woman who never shuts up is a nuisance to all around her. You know the one, where you can never get in a word edgewise.

Godly speech includes also what you don't say. Learn to listen more to others. A little meekness here goes a long way.

Also, watch your vocabulary. I know most of us come from a world of "f" this and "f" that. Women of purity don't swear. I'll take it one step further. Don't use words like "friggin" or "flippin." Technically, it's not swearing, but you are alluding to the bad word and in God's sight, you would not be comely in your speech. It goes back to purity of heart. So work on this, clean up your vocabulary. Use your tongue to glorify God – not to tear down others.

Pure in Appearance

Women of purity do not dress provocatively or suggestive in any way. The way you dress says a lot about you. To dress provocatively is inviting trouble. Don't invite unwanted advances by the way you dress. It's okay to be attractive and look your best in moderation. Be conservative in your dress, makeup, and jewelry if you want to be a woman of purity. If your motives are always pure, why would you want to call attention to yourself by the way you dress? Ultimately, God and people look at who you are on the inside rather than the outside anyway. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30

Personal Discipline

In order to heed God's calling on our life, we must address the area of personal discipline. This is a calling to self-control, temperance, and discipline in every area of your life. Temperance is simply moderation in thought and action. 1 Timothy 3:11 calls us to be sober, to control ourselves and to be women of self-control. As one scholar puts it, to be sober means "literally being sober (clean)...primarily in a physical sense, as opposed to excess in drink (drugs), but also passing into the general sense of self-control and equanimity (self-composed)." We are to be calm, dispassionate, graceful, and sober. We are to live in manner that is characterized by moderation and restraint in all things. We are to be free from excesses in addictions to anything, i.e. smoking, eating, spending, controlling others, etc.

The common theme of today in the secular world is "don't settle for good enough, you deserve better, blah, blah, blah." That is so hedonistic and so not what scripture says. We need to avoid extremes and extravagance. If God is really on the throne of your life, you will thank Him everyday for your lot and tell Him this is good enough for you. In fact, we don't deserve the many blessings we do get from God. But He loves us and is faithful to us. So how we could ever say something is not good enough if it comes from God? Just be careful not to get sucked into the sentimentalities and sensationalism of the world with their false teachings and myths. Also, don't underestimate Satan's influence in your life. Remember, he is prowling around like a lion hoping to devour you.

One definition I like of a woman of purity is this, "a woman characterized by her ability to keep her appetites, actions, and passions moderate in amount and intensity." Ladies, these things don't happen overnight. You must prayerfully aspire to these goals. Ask God to help you in an area that's controlling you. Ask Him to release you from the bondage of this thing as He did with the drugs and/or alcohol.

I give the Lord the first fruits of my day. I spend 30-45 minutes in the Word and prayer. I keep a little prayer notebook on my nightstand and write prayer needs or requests so that when morning comes, I can pray for specific things for others. In addition, I ask for myself each day, "Help me to be humble, gracious, and kind. Help me to be a light at my work and always treat others with dignity and respect." When I first started this three years ago, it was hard. My mind wandered and I was just getting through it. But I doggedly refused to give up. Then I started looking forward to that time because of what God would have me glean from that day's scripture and prayer. Today, that is my time with the Lord and unless I'm deathly ill or there is an emergency, I do not skip it or cut it short. It sets my whole attitude and goals for the day. And five short years ago, I would never have given my actions of the day a second thought.

Sometimes you and I are going to fail. However, I assure you the failures in a particular area will become less and less as we strive to not offend our almighty, sovereign God of this universe upon whom our very next breath is dependent. With this perspective, I have to look to God and say, "I'm yours, what do you want me to do? I surrender to you and give you my body, mind, soul, and spirit. Do with it what you will." There is so much freedom when you cop this attitude of gratitude and submission. It puts everything in your life in perspective.

In my studying, I found there is so much more to a woman of purity. However, with time constraints, I addressed what I thought the Holy Spirit was prompting me to address. Let me just touch on one other aspect.

Sexual Purity

God commands us to walk in sexual purity. He forbids impurity. Sexual purity is always the right thing to do. Not sometimes, not usually, always!–no exceptions!!! And impurity is always punished. God does not even have to intervene directly every time you commit a sexual sin. The punishment is built into the sin. Shame, degradation, and warping of the personality follow as a matter of course. Premarital and extramarital sex is so toxic to your well-being. It will kill you emotionally and mentally –if not physically (i.e. sexually transmitted disease).

Sex is the means by which children are conceived and marital intimacy is expressed. God ordained it this way and you or I cannot change it, no way, no how, no excuse. God will not honor your sexual relationship with another man if you are not married. Period.

"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."
- 1 Corinthians 6:18.

Conclusion

Ladies – I cannot stress this enough. Prayerfully seek God's grace to guide you in your thoughts, action, appearance, and demeanor. God will change you if you let Him. Let God work on you and you will see a real lady of purity emerge. Things that used to be funny and entertaining will become offensive to you as you tighten up your moral standards. You won't even watch the same TV and movies you used to. You will want to appear as a lovely woman of Christ. You will see how superficial and shallow the Britney Spears or Hillary Duffs are when you align your thoughts to the Lord's. The important thing for me is I do not want to offend God. It hurts me to offend Him when I do something that is not pleasing to Him. Therefore, I take very seriously what He commands me to do.

It takes perseverance, prayer, reading scripture daily, attending Pure Word meetings regularly for insight to scripture and willfully applying what you learn. We are all a work in progress and Christ promises to finish what He started in you. Let him have you–all of you. You will emerge as a beautiful butterfly from the cocoon.

"...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;..." - Philippians 1:6

A woman from Berne, Switzerland, tells us this story of her county's flower, the edelweiss. The very name of this plant is a story in itself. Edelweiss is a compound word, which in the German means "noble and white." It is a small perennial herb of the aster family whose pure white blossom must be sought after since it nestles in the highest snowy crags of the Alps. It is so absolutely white that it blends perfectly with its environment, losing its identifying characteristics completely in its surroundings. Even when picked and pressed in paper for preservation, it remains free from discoloration for many years. If we would be like the edelweiss, we must keep ourselves pure and noble, striving to attain the heights with God. Then, as He keeps us pure in heart and motive, He will enable us to