Updated: Nov 22, 2018
We are creatures of habit, but when we form a bad habit, it can be hard to break. Sheer will-power often isn’t enough to put a stop to the dreadful recurring patterns we pick up due to our sinful, worldly desires.
What’s worse is that these bad habits end up leading us into disastrous consequences.
Christ calls His people to remain unstained from the world, so herein lies our predicament.
Religion 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.
The only two things we should be religious about are; helping those in need and keeping ourselves pure.
Infection leads to pollution – pollution leads to ruin.
Cleanness leads to virtue – virtue leads to holiness.
In order to remain unstained, we must ensure that we’re not caught up in the things of this world. Everything the world has to offer; prominence, success, materialism and wealth are all temporary and superficial.
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
The ways of the world go against the ways of God – the two cannot be put together and therefore believers mustn’t align themselves with the things of the world. Not only that, but the way of the world is to sin against God—separating us from the Lord.
2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
To be stained is to compromise – to be unstained is to be wholesome.
Another thing we must be aware of, is that we become like the people we hang around. It’s easier to be pulled down off a ladder, than to be pulled up – therefore it’s important to choose who we hang around carefully.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
In order to remain pure, we are to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer with Him, and any lengthy time we spend with others should be with those who are mature in the faith and hold sound, Word-based ideologies. This doesn’t mean we should hide from people who are not living according to the Word, of course we know that we are to be a light to the world and share the Good News of Christ with them (Matthew 5:14-16). Therefore, when we get together with unbelievers, we should bear the love of Christ while ministering truth, being careful to keep our light shining bright by not giving any allowance to our flesh. Instead, we should have a godly opinion regarding any and all transgressions – hating the sin that entangles others and ourselves.
… save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
When attempting to help rescue another from their sin, we should never approve, support or endorse the sin in any way, shape or form.
Likewise, believers who have sinned and strayed from the Lord’s ways may need our help to be restored back to the truth, however, we must be very cautious during this process and use much godly wisdom so we’re not caught up in sin ourselves.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Let me explain it through this simple story:
‘A man purchased some fresh apples, along with a rotten one. When he got home, he put them all in the cupboard together. The next day when he opened the cupboard, he saw that all the apples had rotted. That one rotten apple had ruined all the fresh ones.’
No one is beyond sinning, and we must be quick to come to terms with this truth. In fact, the Bible tells us that we are lying if we think we don’t sin (1 John 1:8), so with all of us being in the same boat – the boat of depravity so to speak – we can never take the attitude of thinking we’re better than someone else, or look down at someone due to their sin. If we hold the opinion that ‘their sin is much worse than anything I’ve ever done’, we’re quickly forgetting how weighty our own sin is against God and are heading towards dangerous ground. God is completely holy – there is no darkness in Him, therefore we cannot be walking with the Lord when we’re walking in darkness.
1 John 1:5-6
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
So to walk in purity is to be free from contamination, and the only way we can sufficiently live this way is with the help of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (1 John 4:4). As we yield ourselves to Him, the Holy Spirit will do the work in us to produce Christ-likeness.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Let’s desire to be one who is found without spot or blemish, because by the death and resurrection of Jesus we have been freed from sin and death and can now live a life untainted and unspoiled – a life that is no longer our own but exists to exalt, honour and uplift our glorious Creator!
2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, as you anticipate these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him, without spot or blemish.
-- By Jenny Ayling
This article was written to form part of the series, 'Imitate'. Containing 45 sessions, this thorough series intends to reveal the characteristics found in a disciple of Jesus. The original article, 'Imitate', would be the best place to begin your journey in discovering the qualities of a follower of the Messiah of Israel.