Steven introduces our theme this week – Keeping it Pure!
As usual, we have #GoDeeper with Andy B and #GoDo with Steven and Nathan.
GoDeeper with Andy B, as he looks at how to stay pure.
He talks about the importance of not looking at things that are unhealthy, as it won’t lead us closer to Jesus.
And he explains the link between Philippians 4:8 and Matthew 18:9.
Jessica Rey - The evolution of the swim suit - https://youtu.be/WJVHRJbgLz8
Fireflight: “Die Free” - https://youtu.be/6KR06kJw_C4
Desiring God (John Piper): “Twelve Questions to Ask Before You Watch ‘Game of Thrones’” - https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/twelve-questions-to-ask-before-you-watch-game-of-thrones
Steven & Nathan give us 2 challenges for the week ahead in #GoDo:
Read and Remember:
Steven encourages us to read the Scriptures for this week; Philippians 4:4-8 and Matthew 18:9, and to remember that what we continually see and hear will inevitably influence the way we live.
Reflect and Respond:
Nathan challenges us to think about what areas of our lives are not pure, and to allow God to cleanse those areas, by focusing on what is good and pure.
Transcript - #GoDeeper with Andy B, Keeping it Pure! - Endurance, S2, E4
So for #GoDeeper we’re looking at staying pure. And what does purity mean? What's all that about?
Or if you use the word purity has all sorts of connotations that may well come to mind.
But let's just dive straight into scripture. Philippians chapter 4, verses 4 through 8:
Rejoice in the Lord always again, I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving, let your requests being made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. I'm going to flick now to Matthew, chapter 18 and verse 9. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. Nice, bit of gentle reading. (English Standard Version)
So staying pure one of the things that really struck me about these two pieces of scripture: we have to be careful about contextualization.
So if you're taking a verse randomly, just plucking it out of the scriptures, you can be in a bit of a mess cause it's not quite right, on its own. Often you need to go before and after and look at the passage.
But just taking these two pieces of scripture just as they are, it seems and feels to me like Philippians 4 is the preventative medicine.
If we focus on whatever is honourable and just, and Pure, and lovely, and commendable we'll help ourselves to stay pure. And prevention's better than a cure.
When you get into Matthew lopping off parts of your body, your eyes being gouged out, your hands being cut off is better than the go to hell with all the all this stuff there. Well, that feels a bit like a rather drastic cure!
So it feels like Philippians and Matthew are, kind of, wonderfully opposing each other with the prevention and a cure. Not opposites, but opposing each other with two sides of a coin.
'Coz prevention is always going to be better than a cure.
It's better to do your warm ups before you run or your cycle, then get home and have really, really bad legs coz you didn't bother to warm up. Prevention is always going to be a cure. It's a lot easier.
I spent a year up in Manchester - in England, in the UK - and I was really privileged: I had two great pastors. A senior Pastor - Colin, and another pastor there was Tony. Really good guys.
And they recounted two stories which I'm gonna recount to you because they're really powerful.
The first was Colin and Tony, stood in one of their offices, looking out over the area where they were and looking at the people walking by. And a woman walked past. Quite a short skirt. Looked very, very attractive and they both looked her and said wow, she's very attractive, and they looked away.
Now they can't help seeing what they see. But what do they do? Did they go? That's quite nice. Let's have another look!
No, no, they looked away and got on with something else.
Because the first look, the first thing that we see, well it's not always necessarily our fault. If it's not our fault, it's not really a major issue, but what we do next kind of really is.
Although they saw something they could have let their eyes linger or had a second look, or made some lewd comment - but they didn't. They chose to get on with something else.
Colin also recounts a wonderful story, urm, about a wife coming home in a dress to a husband and saying, 'look what you think of this dress - do I look good in this dress'.
And the husband thinking? Well, yeah wow, she looks amazing.
And then the husband, having to say to the wife, 'But could you please not wear out the house, because the way that I feel about you when I look at you in that dress - I don't want other men to think about that same kind of thing, could you stop wearing the dress outside?' And the wife said, 'good point'.
Let's be careful when we think that modesty as well. There's a lot of relatively few living on a beach, and you're probably going to be seeing people who are not fully clothed head to toe, and that's going to be okay. We're not talking quite about that.
We've got a video or link. It's about the bikini, and what the bikini - does is it empower women or does it not empower women/ A really good look at the psychology of people and lots of stuff. We'll link to that. I'll let the video speak for itself
But that second look that's really the key.
So you can't really be blamed for seeing something that you didn't intend to see. If you're gonna to see it well, you've seen it. That's not really something you're going out to do, so therefore you can't really be held at fault.
But what are you gonna do next?
We've spoken quite a few times about a book by JC Ryle which is great for young men. It's also great for young women. And it's all about what you're doing with your mind, and your heart, and your sin cycle, and all that kind of stuff.
But we're living in a sexualised society where I get quite sad thinking about people growing up - boys and girls, especially girls. Because young girls are being encouraged to look more and more old, and looking more more sexualised - because of the clothes that are available to them, which I find quite quite sad to be honest.
And this isn't just about, you know, 'women need to cover up cause men will stumble if they don't. We're not talking about that. That's kind of your milk stuff. We're on to meat here.
What does the Bible really teach us about how we can stay pure?
How does that help us with our physical and spiritual exercise, or staying pure spiritually? Staying physically pure? It's the kind of the same thing, same principle: staying pure physically would be looking after your body so you don't eat the wrong things; you've got the right gear; you look after the equipment that you've been given, your shoes, your running gear, the foot ball, whatever - you take care of it.
And in the same way spiritually you look after your Bible; you look after your body; you take care of what goes in.
There's another really, really good post that we'll put a link on for you. And it's by guy called John Piper, who is a really amazing theologian. But he wrote about "Game of Thrones", very, very popular - all around the world - going back a few years.
All the secular reviews that I could read of it - I never watched the thing - and they all talked about it, basically being 'pornography that's legitimised for TV'.
Well, if that doesn't concern you about something, then I'm not sure what will.
But John Piper wrote brilliantly about the fact that when you're watching a violent film all that stuff that you're seeing - basically you're looking at CGI. You're looking at computer graphics. It isn't real.
But when you're seeing somebody who is without clothes, or naked or whatever; sex scenes on TV - that's not CGI.
Yeah, there might be a bit of lighting put in, but that's someone's daughter, someone's sister, someone's mother, and you can't un-see what you see! So take care with what you see.
We know things like pornography will re-chemically alter your brain, it changes all the nerves and stuff in your brain. It rewires it.
So what we see really changes who we are. And that's why in Philippines it's got the antidote: 'whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely'.
If we're doing something and it's not bringing us closer to Jesus, it can only be pushing us further away from Jesus. There's no grey area in this. Either we're going towards Jesus will be going away from Jesus. It's one or the other.
And what we do, and what we think - that affects everything.
When I was learning to ride a motorbike, many years ago, you start on a scooter, and then we went on a little bike, with a little engine with gears, and then I got onto a bigger bike - which was much more fun.
But as you're learning, everything within you wants to look right down at the floor in front of the bike, 'what's going on right in front of the bike'?
And all the instructors will say 'don't look in front of your wheel - you need to look down the road, where you actually want to go to'. That's the direction your bikes gonna go. If you're looking down there, all you gotta do is wobble, and probably fall off or crash.
Where do you want the motorbike to be? Down the road? Right - that's where you need to look. That's where you need to focus and concentrate. Yeah have a quick glance, make sure there's nothing coming up. But if it's coming up at speed, you're not gonna do anything anyway.
So where do you want to go?
And that analogy is brilliant for us spiritual-staying-pure-message-today. Where do you want to be in a month, or six months, or a year? It means looking after what comes into our ears, what comes into our heart, what comes into our mouths, our eyes.
The song by Fireflight, "Die Free", which we'll link to that as well. That's quite powerful: it talks about some of these things in a really, really good way.
But let's be staying pure. Well, what does that mean in a spiritual context for us as Christians? It means getting closer to God.
If we're doing something which is pulling us away from God: if it's not drawing us towards God, it's pushing us away. And if we're not being drawn towards God, whatever it is we're doing probably needs to go. That's the cutting your hand off and stuff, 'cos it's in the way. And actually being handless, but in love with Jesus is better than being in a miserable sin lifestyle; this isn't suggesting that you get your hand off. This is a metaphor!
But staying pure, being pure, having a purity mind. Well, let's God our eyes.; let's repent the things we shouldn't be doing; let's give it to God; let's be accountable to people. And let's stay pure by focusing on this: I'm going to finish with Philippines 4 reading. 'Cos this is how we do, this is how we get through and then we'll know the piece of God which surpasses all understanding - verse 7, so verse 8:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable. If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (English Standard Version)
So let's stay pure this week - as we come into the new week, in the new day, wherever and whenever you are in the world. Let's stay pure by focusing on the good things of God and trying to make sure that all we do is moving closer to Jesus Christ.
Written by Steven The Dude