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Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

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The Power of Spiritual Purity

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…
1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV)

I invite you to consider what areas of your life contain those not-quite-right things that are permitted to exist, to persist, to remain, or to linger because we are somewhat unsure about what they mean in terms of threat if we were to decide to address it.

All of us deal with this. “I don’t want to confront that because I’m afraid if I confront it, it might open something worse.” “I don’t want to have that conversation, because if the conversation goes sideways, I don’t want the topic to move into another area.”

We feel unsure of the threats that might arise if we were to make attempts to address some of these maladies, these connections in our lives that are causing such bad issues. They may be related to parents or children, jobs or health, finances or future—these crippling toxic habits and demons and weaknesses and annoyances where we would rather avoid the conversation or avoid the encounter because we are afraid to address certain conditions.

It's like saying, “I don’t want to go to the doctor. I know if I go, he’s going to find something.” There are certain parts of our lives that we don’t touch because we are intimidated by the impurity of it all.

And sometimes we are intimidated by the strength of the impurity of a thing more than we trust the power of the purity we possess in Jesus to affect change, to heal hurt, to bring resolution, to provide a vision that is headed somewhere.

We hesitate to face these areas of impurity, not fully realizing that in addressing them, God can help us to:

  • finally embrace peace
  • stop hurting
  • rid ourselves of a crippling habit
  • change maladjusted behavior
  • transform twisted thinking
  • accept God’s amazing grace
  • live with peace that surpasses all human understanding
  • own our place in the kingdom of God
  • enjoy the prevailing presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit

I hear it all the time—the hesitation in many people’s voices about addressing things in our lives because we fear what opening that thing may further present. We pull away from seeking help because we don’t want any poking or prodding. “Leave that alone. Don’t mess with that. Don’t bring that topic up. Don’t even attempt to touch it.”

While reasons may vary for each one of us as to why we do this, I suggest that among them often is the lack of faith we have in the power of the purity that Jesus has nurtured and is maturing in us.

There is this subtle doubt as to whether or not Jesus’s presence in us is really stronger than what the enemy is doing. We doubt whether that purity is strong enough to confront, to change, and to correct the impurity that is wreaking so much havoc in our lives.

We have to learn how to trust the power of spiritual purity.

 

A Witness to the World

Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
Mark 1:41 (NKJV)

A leper approached Jesus, begging Him to heal him and expressing faith in His ability to do so. Jesus, feeling compassion, reached out and touched the leper, saying He was willing to heal him. Instantly, the leprosy vanished from the man. Jesus instructed him sternly not to tell anyone but to show himself to the priest and follow the required cleansing rituals.

One encounter with Jesus and this man is now able to move freely again in society. He can go to church. He can be around friends. He can see family. But the only remaining thing he has yet to do before enjoying any of these things is to go be examined by the priest in Jerusalem.

That priest would examine his body and ask him some pointed questions. And after examination, he would have to conclude and declare that the leper has been healed. This man would then excitedly and no doubt gratefully rush to bring an offering in obedience to the law of Moses.

Can you all imagine how simple the former leper’s answers were when he appeared before the priest and how confounded the priest must have been?

“How were you healed of leprosy?”

“Jesus healed me.”

“And how did He heal you?”

“Sir, He just touched me. He made a declaration and all I can tell you is that my leprosy immediately dissipated.”

“You mean to tell me you ran into this man Jesus, and all He did was touch you and you were healed?”

“Yep. No magic tricks. No ointment splashed. No incantations uttered. I went to Jesus. I asked Him if He was willing. He said that He was, He touched me, and I was clean.”

The priest would then have to acknowledge that Jesus no doubt has spiritual power because this man was previously covered with leprosy and now there is no evidence of it. And it really does prove that what Jesus does for us—the changes He affects in us, the healing He extends to us, the power He transfers to us—is no doubt for our benefit, but never without also being a witness to others of His authenticity, His power, and His goodness.

 

How Are We Treating Jesus?

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
Psalm 24:3-4 (NKJV)

Jesus is not in our lives to be pushed around by our urgencies. And while He may respond to them, while He may minister to us in them, He teaches us that He is extremely intentional about how He is to be treated.

Jesus has emotionality when it comes to us. He can be angered by us. He can be blessed by us. He is acquainted with our grief. He has emotionality.

We live in a climate and culture where everybody views and interprets and sifts religion on what Jesus offers to us, how the Lord treats us. But have you ever considered that while the Lord is so good to us, we have an expectation by Him of how He also wants to be treated?

For example, Psalm 24 asks and answers: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.” In Matthew 16, Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Psalm 100 instructs us to “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” The Lord is specific in how He is to be treated by us.

Matthew 9 tells of two blind men who cried out to Jesus for healing, but He made them follow Him into a house and asked them about their faith before He healed them. It’s almost as if He is saying to them, “I could have healed you on the road. I could have healed you before your first expression to me. But I wanted it to be clear that I am not pushed and manipulated by human urgency. I moved by divine synchronicity. And there are some things that I do because it has to fit within God's timing, and it has to fit within the pedagogy that I am dispensing to your life.”

Jesus is extremely intentional about how He is to be treated. It matters how He is approached. It matters how He is viewed. It matters how He is responded to.

 

He Cares

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

How many people are living with realities that are making them want to react adversely or respond without surrender to the Holy Spirit?

How many people are making decisions out of their pain, striking back at people because they’re so fatigued of being struck, giving up on divine assignments because of opposition and difficulty?

How many people want to walk away from opportunities and possibilities because of anger and disappointment?

How many people want to settle back into what is not good for them, never has been, and never will be?

How many people are thinking about defeating, depleting, and draining things, not realizing that things are about to change?

Jesus teaches us that when these realities bump up in our lives and grip us tight, and you are on your way to bury your dreams, your goals, your aspirations, and your energy, He is saying to you, “Child of God, not just yet. You’ve got to wait on Me. I’m a God who can turn things around. I can make things happen.”

Jesus is sensitive to our pain and our losses. In fact, you are so loved by God, that when your heart is broken, it affects Him. He feels so deeply about:

  • what you feel
  • what you’re experiencing
  • what you’re managing
  • what you’re trying to survive
  • what you’re stewarding
  • what you’re trying to juggle
  • how you’re trying to sift it all
  • and what you’re trying to recover from

He doesn’t leave us out in the cold and anguish. He comes alongside us and meets us in our pain. What an amazing God He is.

 

Living in the Spirit

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

As we submit to the presence and the influence of the Holy Spirit, it doesn’t mean that we won’t have to face challenges or fight giants or overcome obstacles or deal with opposition in any way. But it does mean that in not one of those areas does the enemy get to decide our choices. The enemy does not get to decide how we manage the stewardship of our responses to life’s circumstances.

When we live in Jesus, we live convicted that He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be whole. He wants us to be well. He wants us to be productive. He wants us to have the joy of the Lord as our inner strength.

The enemy doesn’t get to decide my choices. He can shape weapons, and he can release them. He can toxify environments. He can invade the mind and try to crush the heart. He can infect my exchanges with other people. He can entice people to betray me. But I have to make the choice as to whether I forgive or seek revenge, whether I surrender to anger or decide to dispense grace and mercy.

And here’s the point: Jesus says, “Child of God, I’ve established My kingdom inside of you. And because the kingdom lives inside of you, you are more than a conqueror. I am with you. And Me with you is more than the world against you. Don’t say what you cannot do, because in Me, you can do all things.”

Isn’t that amazing to think about? Doesn’t that fill your praise? Doesn’t it deepen your love? And doesn’t it make you want to express it? Each of us is loved so much by Jesus that He will respond to our needs and give us His joy and a peace that surpasses understanding.