This is part of a series of writings I am working on to expand the post I published earlier, Pure In HEART. This series will be taking a more detailed look at each point of that post. Today I look at part four, Pure in Relationship.
Again, the seeds for this series came from God through a song that took up residence in my mind for the better part of a week. 🙂 I think the song may be titled, “Highway To Heaven”, but the line that stuck with me is, “it’s a highway to heaven . . . none can go up there . . . but the pure in heart . . . well, it’s a highway to heaven . . . walking on the King’s highway!”
The phrase that continually jumped out at me was the idea of “pure in heart“. I believe God has given me another acrostic to provide the framework for a sermon He has been giving me — and thus a series of writings. What does it mean to be pure in heart? I want to look at five areas that should help lead us toward being pure in heart. We’ve already looked at living Pure in Humor, Pure in Eyes, and Pure in Attitude and now we come to Pure in Relationship.
” Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NIV)
Somewhere along the line it seems that respect in relationship has slid out of practice in a society that values the individual rights above all else and lives by an “everything is about me” attitude. Living pure in relationship will require a foundation of purity in attitude. As our attitude grows into being more Christ-like, we more consistently consider the needs of others above those of our own.
Paul writes to the young evangelist, Timothy, with some great instructions on what a pure relationship would look like in a variety of age and gender contexts. We treat older men as if they were our father — even, and especially, when the situation appears to call for correction. We treat younger men as brothers — siblings who may not always agree but always are looking out for and protect against attacks from outside the family. We treat older women as we would a loving and sacrificial mother — with great love, tenderness and compassion. We treat younger women as a sister — with absolute purity and no allowance for thoughts by us, or by anyone else, that would place them in a compromising position. Unfortunately, much of the meaning gets lost when we fail to understand how Timothy would have heard and taken the comparisons that Paul makes.
The ultimate purity in relationship ought to be found in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ! This is a relationship that we simply must get right. As the song that planted the seeds for this series says, “none can go up there, but the pure in heart”. In our relationship with God, do we tend to “cheat” on Him with other lovers? Do we talk back and show complete contempt for who He is? Do we ignore His will and commands with a disrespect that leads us down a very dark path? Do we have no regard for His name and the reputation we give it to those who are watching us? In our relationship with Him, and with others, God calls us to be holy as He is holy. While that is impossible to do on our own, we can experience a cleansing of our attitude and an empowering of His Spirit to enable us to live a life that is holy and acceptable unto God.
So, how are your relationships? Are you allowing your relationships to grow in depth and purity as you center them around the core of a vibrant relationship with God? Do you live submissively in relationship with people in a way that shows you value them and their needs above yourself and your desires? I pray that you and I would pursue God faithfully and be found “pure in HEART” because we have paid attention to purity in our Humor, Eyes, Attitude, Relationships, and Teaching!