This is week two/part two of our series, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” For previous posts, please see the links at the bottom of this article.
Another name for the virtue of purity is “pure in heart.” To be pure in heart means to have good intentions. The opposite of that would be doing things merely because we feel obligated to, or doing one thing while thinking another, otherwise labelled a hypocrite.
I remember driving in the car one evening with my oldest son when I said to him, “I’m not like that. I’d never been so rude to a person…”
As far as I was concerned, I was a good girl. I held my tongue. I didn’t shake things up like I could have. I never would. I’m too kind for that type of behavior.
At least I thought I was, until I heard Brendan’s response. He sharpened and challenged me with his wisdom when he said, “Not really. It’s not that you’re any kinder than them–you’re just too shy to really say what’s on your mind.”
Ouch. That comment stung, but his words rang true and I knew it.
I had just spent ten minutes ragging on about this person and saying how much they got on my nerves. I hadn’t stopped to consider that my thoughts were every bit as guilty as someone’s actions could be. I’m timid, and I’m shy, but I’m every bit as guilty as the next when it comes to my thoughts.
I was reminded of the Pharisees who Jesus often reprimanded in scripture. He compared them to a cup that is clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside (see Matt. 23:25), and white-washed tombs:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. – Matthew 23:27-28
God searches the heart, He sees the ugly parts that I tuck away from the world. This is why it’s important to consider my thoughts as much as I do my actions.
Are they reflecting the love of Christ? Or do they reflect a self-centered impatient heart? A pure heart is one that is centered on Christ.
It’s not always easy to do, but this virtue is certainly something that we can exercise. Let’s look at five ways to get started:
1. Consider your words. This includes swearing, lying, gossiping, yelling, and bragging. Are you seeking to edify others? Is your conduct in-line with God’s will? If it isn’t, practice stopping yourself the moment it comes out of your mouth and correct your behavior.
2. Consider your love. Do you love to get love? Is the love you have toward your husband and God conditional? In other words will you love them just as much tomorrow if things don’t go your way?
When love becomes just a matter of give and take we discover that some days we can’t give because we haven’t been given enough. Our love tank is empty. But if we love others simply because God loved us, we always have our love tanks full by His Spirit, overflowing and ready to pour out on others.
Timothy Keller writes, “Without the help of the Spirit, without a continual refilling of your soul’s tank with the glory and love of the Lord, such submission to the interests of the other is virtually impossible to accomplish for any length of time without becoming resentful.” The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment With the Wisdom of God.
3. Consider your actions. Are you serving others joyfully or grudgingly?
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
When we give from the heart as unto the Lord, anything we do including laundry starts to makes sense. We can say, “Lord, this is the job You have given me. These are the people You’ve entrusted in my care. And I’m going to serve them the best way I know how.”
A virtuous woman understands that her final reward comes from the Lord.
4. Consider your sexual behavior, and yes–your thoughts. Is your desire to your own husband or toward another man?
But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. – Matthew 5:28
This pertains every bit as much to us as it does to the men. It might seem harmless to hoot and howl over Hollywood’s hottest hunk, but that kind of behavior isn’t becoming of virtuous women because it isn’t in step with God’s desire for us. Men are created in the image of God and should be treated as such.
5. Consider your intentions. For example, if you are involved in ministry are you doing it for the sake of the Lord or a selfish reason such as the approval and praise of your peers.
Also consider your small acts of ministry such as visiting a sick person in the hospital, bringing a meal to a family in need, babysitting for a friend in need, etc. The same question should be asked, “Why are you doing it? For the sake of the Lord or for your glory?”
This concludes our study on the virtue of purity. I hope that you encouraged and perhaps challenged in your walk with the Lord.
We’ll continue this series on Monday when we chat about the virtue of self-control.
You are loved by an almighty God,
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