***As an update, my mom’s surgery went very well, and she’s doing great. She still has a lot to do to adjust to her new situation, but I know she can do all things through Christ who gives her strength!***
A few years ago, I wrote a Bible study I wanted to do with my daughter’s age group. She was nearing the point of graduating high school and about to head to college and adult life. I kept thinking about all the things I had tried to teach her over the years, and I wasn’t sure I had done a good enough job. I wanted to deliberately put together the lessons with scriptural foundation as a sort of reference source, or arsenal of truth that could be brought out when needed. As she was beginning to make a lot of her own adult decisions, I knew some of the battles that she would face – things she would have to deal with on her own. I wanted to do my best to help prepare her with Godly wisdom.
**Please know this, I created this study from the perspective of my own experience and Bible study. I am not a theologian and do not have a degree in ministry. I pray that as you read and consider the questions, thoughts, and scriptures, you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through God’s word. Whether you are younger or older, may you be encouraged and draw closer to God according to His will.
As I considered the themes of each lesson and gathered the scriptures I knew applied, I learned a lot about myself. I found I was challenged in my own spiritual journey even as I was writing from experience. Realizing the lessons I compiled for these young ladies were still just as relevant to my current stage in life, I decided I should look at them again. This is the first time I am revisiting the lessons since then, and I am adapting the lessons for the blog. I know there will be some revising. I also expect fresh insight and applications as I go through them with you.
The lesson themes are: Purity, Value, Hard Work, Money, Beauty, and Kindness. Each lesson was designed for group discussion and private reflection with additional scripture references and questions to think about over a week’s period. Since we’re doing this online, take your time with it. You may share with others if you would like to have your own conversations. Keep a journal if that’s your thing.
I hope you will interact by posting comments. I do read and approve the comments before they are published, so if you submit a comment and there’s no response right away, just know I may need a little time to get to it. I should be able to do so within a day.
So, without further ado, here’s the lesson on Purity!
Purity in Spirit
The objective here is to understand more fully what it means to have a pure heart, completely dedicated to God. Purity is more than abstaining from sexual behavior outside of marriage. It is more than just being good, which is often hard enough. Our righteousness comes through our faith in Jesus Christ. Our sanctification comes with growing in faith, knowledge and experiences. Having a pure heart comes from being open and willing to follow God’s will through whatever trials will make us stronger.
Proverbs 31: 29 – 31 (NIV) “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
- What do you think of when you hear the word, “purity?”
- What is purification?
- Who is pure?
- Describe some things that are refined and the processes that they go through.
If we are all born into sin, how can any of us have a pure heart? That’s the whole point! We can’t – not on our own. We can’t ever be good enough in our own strength. We can’t earn anything, we can’t give enough, we can’t serve enough, and we can’t be kind enough. Our activities do not make us pure. It is only by the grace of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can come to have a pure heart.
- Psalm 12:6 (HCSB) The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times.
- Titus 3:5 He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
- Psalm 51:10 – 12 (HCSB) God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.
Questions To Consider
- Once you accepted Jesus as your savior, were you able to make all the right decisions and avoid sin?
- Do you get tired of trying to be good?
- What matters more, what you actually choose to do, or your thoughts and desires?
- Does God see a difference?
Why It Matters
The distinction between what we do and what is in our heart is significant because our actions originate from what is in our heart and our thoughts. Without a heart that is seeking God, our desire to do the right thing is coming from the strength of our own will. We are constantly in battle between the desires of our flesh and the desires of God’s spirit living in us. Our desire to be able to live in our own strength is at odds with trusting God. You can’t do both. And when temptation comes, we won’t have the ability to withstand it if the strength we are using is from the flesh. The selfish desires won’t stand against other selfish desires. It is our constant dilemma in being Christians. God knows this, and that is why He has given us a way through Jesus Christ, the Scripture, His Holy Spirit, and each other.
Let’s look at this dilemma as recognized in scripture.
Romans 7:14-20 The Message (MSG) I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
Towards the end of my college years, I read a book, Passion and Purity, by Elisabeth Elliot. After reading it, I remember thinking it would have been better if I had read it earlier, like when I was in high school. In it, Elisabeth describes the courtship between her and Jim Elliot, a missionary. They were truly dedicated to waiting for God’s plan and timing to work out in their love for Him and each other. They didn’t know what was going to happen. When I read it, I realized that even though I professed to love God, I didn’t completely trust Him with all parts of my life. I did not have a pure heart.
It has taken a long time for me to understand the things that kept me from trusting God. It has taken a long time to allow spaces for God to show His love for me in different parts of my life. What I’m sharing now is an exercise in that trust and faith. I am giving space for God to use what has been broken in my heart and challenging in my life to encourage and shine a light for you to see how to go forward stronger and more confidently than I did. God has been so patient and gentle with me. I am learning every day how to trust Him more and in more parts of my life. I want you to see it now, at the beginning of your adult choices.
It comes down to this word from me to you. Having a pure heart means you trust God in all areas of your life. Gaining a pure heart means you have to go through trials that will show areas of weakness in which God will renew and strengthen if you let Him. A pure heart means crying out to Him when you are weak, when you mess up, or when you feel lost and alone. Having a pure heart means joy and praise as you worship the One who made you and loves you best – laughing at the days to come. Trust and faith in the certainty of God’s love for you will give you the confidence you need to be a woman as described in Proverbs 31.
Be encouraged, it doesn’t matter if you’ve already made mistakes, those are opportunities for you to let God work in those areas. Step forward with confidence. Be it choosing a college, a career, or a spouse, God is with you wherever you go. His love endures forever. Run to Him, pray and seek Him in everything. Watch as He creates a peaceful, loving, joyful and beautiful spirit in you. You are a daughter of God!
The Big Questions
- Are you willing to let God create in you a pure heart even though it may sometimes be hard?
- In what areas do you recognize that you aren’t really trusting God?
- In what ways has God shown you His faithful love?
Digging A Little Deeper (HCSB) The following are supporting scripture references that you can look at during the week as you ponder what purity means.
- The Book Of Ruth – About purity and loyalty
- Psalm 73 When we see things around us that make us feel foolish for pursuing purity
- Jeremiah 29:13 When you seek me and find me when you search with all your heart.
- Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
- Colossians 3:10 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
- Acts 15:9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.
- Hebrews 10:2, 14-17, 22-25 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshippers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?; For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after He had said: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds, He adds: I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled (clean) from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promise dis faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away form our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
- Romans 5:3-5 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
- Daniel 12:10 Many will be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand.
- 1 Peter 1:3-9 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Philippians 2: 12 – 15 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, (enabling you) both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly the message of life.