The Captive and the Silly

August 4, 2010 § 2 Comments

“For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
– II Timothy 3:6-7 –

The words ‘captive‘and ‘silly‘are not kind words. I am certain that no woman considers herself as such. Still, God does not waste words.

In the previous verses, God describes what sort of people to BOLO – (Be On The Look Out) for.  It is not an admirable list either. Characteristics include those that are:  lovers of their own selves; covetous; boasters; proud; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; unthankful; unholy; without natural affection; trucebreakers; false accusers; incontinent; fierce; despisers of those that are good; traitors; heady; and high-minded.

Can you find yourself in that list?  We all can from time to time. A pursuit of purity, a mindset that focuses solely on getting all those things out of our lives, will free us from inclusion from that horrible list of behaviors.

These select words ‘captive‘(meaning without freedom) and ‘silly‘(meaning foolish or void of understanding) are descriptive words and the direct result of two things: 1) their diverse (many) lusts (forbidden desires), and 2) their ever learning (never-ending) of new ideas and things.

In today’s society, women boldly declare their intellect, their fortitude and their independence. But here in Scripture we find that the demands of many women to declare their rights and their never-ending desire to always look for the new and better thing results in the two unkind words ‘captive‘ and ‘silly‘.

It gets even worse. By not pursuing purity, by meandering, they have made themselves prime targets for ‘…those who creep into houses…” One cannot enter through a closed door.

A wise woman is a free woman. A wise woman’s head is not easily turned to the ‘new and better’. She has selected to build her house with wisdom by confessing her sin when God reveals it to her and avoiding the ‘new and better thing’ by holding fast to the teaching of her LORD.

Class Notes on Lesson One: Pondering Purity

August 4, 2010 § 4 Comments

On Monday, August 2nd, we began a new six-week study called Pursuing Purity:  A Bible Study for Women.   This lesson includes a list of questions to stir thinking on all topics included in the Study. Below are notes from the class.

Lesson One:  Pondering Purity
(Questionnaire)

I was surprised to hear a member say that one benefit from pursuing a pure life was living without fear. This was a new perspective. I hadn’t considered the fear factor.  Pursuing a life of purity does indeed remove fear.

Lesson Two:  Purity in Order
(Power, Protection and Peace)

One member mentioned that if we pray the blood of Jesus our prayers are powerful and this is true. But, is it true if we are not pursuing purity in our lives?  Can this limit the power of our prayers?

Another member mentioned that genuine, heartfelt prayers are powerful and this is also true. But, is sincerity enough to fortify our prayers?

We discussed protection and how pursuing a pure life will protect us.  If we live unrestrained lives with no attention to purity, doesn’t that limit our protection?  Sometimes God lifts protection in order for us to reap what we have sown.

Lesson Three:  Purity in the Obvious
(Flirting, Flattery, and Foolishness)

As you can imagine, we all had comments on these topics.  One member stated “I don’t know about that because I don’t do that.” which begged the response that came by another member “But you know it when you see it.”

We took a close look at flirting and flattery and discussed the distinction between them. Flirting always has a sexual component, whereas flattery may or may not.  Flirting is basically sexual amusement which is sexual immorality. Flattery is deception hidden within excessive, insincere praise.

Lesson Four:  Purity in the Obscure
(Meandering, Modesty, and Meekness)

There was much discussion on this topic. We considered the definition of meandering being the state of wandering aimlessly from thing to thing or idea to idea. A pursuit of purity in this area would prevent a woman from becoming like those found in II Timothy 3:6-­7.

Concerning meekness, this discussion carried great encouragement for the class. We spoke of I Peter 3:4 and why God considered a ‘meek and quiet spirit‘ of ‘great price.’  It is because God knows what it takes to be meek, to rule our tongues, calm our anger, and so forth.

Of modesty, we all laughed when one member recounted a visiting preacher’s comment of “Best thing to do it keep your privates private.”

Lesson Five:  Purity in the Oblivious
(Authority, Appearance, and Appetite)

Because class time ran short, we briefly touched on this topic. We did speak briefly on appearance and appetite.  How does a woman pursuing purity seem to others? In her demeanor, in her body language, in her clothing, does she appear to others as a daughter of the King?

When we discussed appetite, the discussion centered on fantasizing.  Do our appetites and desires allow fantasizing  that pollute our hearts?

Lesson Six:  Purity in the Obedient
(Status, Satisfaction, and Substance)

Checking the pulse of the group, I made mention of the voicemail I’d received from a popular Christian Musician, and then asked “Did my status just jump up in your mind?”

Pursuing purity will refocus what impresses us. When we realize that every other person’s heart is as wicked as our own, we can honor another only when their efforts or achievements matter to God. Otherwise, we will fall into idol worship.

Finally, we one question in the ‘Into the Word’ section spoke volumes to us.  II Samuel 22:27, Psalm 18:26, and Titus 1:15 all revealed to us a great truth.  How we react or see God reveals the condition of our hearts.  Those who see God as hostile have unsavory or hostile hearts. Those who see God as loving and just have loving and just hearts.

Tending the Garden

August 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

And every man that hath this hope in him  purifieth himself,
even as he is pure.”
– I John 3:3

Recently, my husband and I moved to our new home in the country. Driving to our new house, I often noticed my neighbors outside tending their gardens.

Having lived in the suburbs most of my life, there was never room for a garden. Now that I lived in the country, I wanted a garden of my own. When the next spring came, we tilled a small area and planted a few vegetables.

Each day, I would don my garden attire and set out to tend my new garden. I pulled weeds, sprayed for bugs, and hoed the rows until my little garden looked as cared for as I could make it. I waved to my neighbors as they tended their gardens.

I did everything I knew to tend to my little garden. There was one thing I never did, though. I never went to my neighbors to tend their gardens. They never came to mine either. We tended, we purified our own gardens.

I learned many lessons during that first year. I did not create the soil, the seed, or the rain it needed to grow. But, I did tend the garden. I kept as many insects and weeds and small animals from it as possible. I purified our garden as best I could.

Our lives are much like this. We have the hope that God plants in us as sons and daughters. There is much we cannot control in our lives. There is also much we can. Every child of God who has this hope purifies himself, even as he is pure.

Because of the hope He gives us, we are driven to purify ourselves.

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