Day 2 – Is it Pure?
After a night’s rest in your car you wake to find that a new day has dawned and you are still in your same situation: stranded. You are a little stiff but you stayed warm and dry all night. The ashes from your fire are still warm so you can keep it going with more wood. Other than that, the fact that you are not getting rescued anytime soon is beginning to settle in as you realize you are hungry, thirsty, and out of both food and water.
Even though you are hungry your careful attention to TJ on Wednesday nights has taught you that you can go three weeks without food but you can only go a week without water (and that is pushing it). Your body needs water to survive in a serious way; over 60% of your body is made up of water. Going without it can seriously impair your ability to stay cool (since you use water to sweat), process nutrients, and even brain activity is impaired when you are dehydrated (check out http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-days-can-you-survive-without-water-2014-5 for more information).
With this in mind, you now realize you need to find some more water and fast. The more you sweat and the more energy you use working to survive the more water you are using up. Getting dehydrated is the worst possible thing to happen in a survival situation. To keep this from happening you start walking down the road looking for a water source. About half a mile later you realize the road runs close to a small brook and you quickly refill your empty water bottle and start to bring it to your lips for a refreshing drink of the crystal clear water.
Survival Tool #2: Make Sure it is Pure
Suddenly the words of TJ pop into your mind and you hear him saying, “Just because water looks pure, doesn’t mean it really is… looks can be deceiving.” As great as the water from the brook looks you know that there are tons of bacteria that are invisible to the naked eye that can make you sick. In a desperate situation that might be a risk worth taking, but you know that you are not in danger of death at this point. As much as you want to quench your thirst you know that by taking some extra time and effort you can make the water pure and safe to drink.
Back at your campsite you place your water bottle close to the fire to heat up. If you can get it to 160 degrees for 30 minutes or 185 degrees for a few minutes it will kill all the dangerous pathogens. Since water boils at 212 degrees if your water reaches a boil you know it is safe (but it still may be too hot so let it cool down!). Making sure your water was safe to drink took time, effort, control, and patience but it was worth it to make sure it was pure.
Use Your Tools
Making your water pure did not happen by magic. You used your mental and physical resources to keep yourself both hydrated and healthy. It took a clear head and a good sense of self-control to stay away from a dangerous situation. Failure to recognize the danger and a lack of knowledge on water purity could easily have led to you getting a stomach virus and seriously endangering your chances of survival and rescue. You knew that purity is the key to staying healthy and it kept your safe.
This same principle applies to our spiritual life as well; we have to know whether or not something is pure before we do it to keep ourselves healthy and safe. Failure to recognize the danger can lead to serious consequences later on in life. Just like drinking impure water can feel satisfying when you drink it but lead to health problems later, an impure act or thought can feel good at first but lead to disaster in the future. When questions about ceremonial hand washing for cleanliness Jesus responded to the crowds:
 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (Matthew 15:11 NLT)
And later to his Disciples he clarified by saying:
 “Don’t you understand yet?” Jesus asked.  “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.” (Mathew 15 16-20 NLT)
Jesus makes it clear; it is our hearts that make us unclean. Our heart attitude is what condemns something as pure or impure. Is it okay to get a piercing? Consider your heart attitude; are you getting it to have others look at you or because you want to honor God with your body? If it is to honor God, how is it honoring him? It is okay to watch a Rated ‘R’ movie? Why are you watching it? It is something that will give honor God or something that he would find offensive? An old man once told me that if I would not do something with Jesus right beside me, I should not do it.
So how can we tell what things in this world are pure or impure? At a glance this can be difficult; just like deciding whether the water was safe to drink because it looked clear. You knew that it was not what it looked like that was most important; it was what was in the water that made it impure. Just as you purified the water with fire you can do certain things to make sure the things you do are pure and give honor to God. You can test it and see if it brings glory to God. Consider this passage:
 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12: 1-2 NLT)
Here is where we must be careful; we cannot do something just because it is popular. We must constantly ask ourselves if what we are doing honors God. If our heart intent is pure and the Bible supports what we want to do, then do it! Remember that our goal as followers of Christ is not to serve ourselves but to serve others as Christ served us.
Write it down
What are some things in your life that you do that you think might not honor God? What do you think can change so that you are honoring God in every area of your life?
Take time now and throughout the day to pray over what God is calling you to do. What do you need to change in your life? What things are you doing to honor yourself rather than honor God? Look at this passage below to see what Jesus said to give you some ideas.
 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.