Whatever Is Pure and Lovely
Religion is not like a piece of clothing that we can pick to wear one day and not the next. Religion is just like heart. It is a part of you that either beats with confidence or a part of you that makes you question if it is beating at all. People fool themselves by thinking they can think and act one way some of the time and another way the rest of the time. But just like there is no half-leavened loaf of bread, Christianity is all in or all out. Your actions and consistent thoughts are entirely your own. You choose what influences your thinking by what you watch, listen, or read. Devotion is shown in how time, effort, and money are spent in the first chances that one has to spend them.
Sometimes there are ulterior motivations behind thoughts and actions, even if the best intentions are meant. This can happen to you or other people and will usually come with self-justifications. Note that if you must self-justify, the choice is not God-justified. It is also important to realize that you can only control yourself. Just because you decide to make the Godly choice doesn’t mean others will choose to as well. But this is where Godly wisdom can be cherished. The trials you go through will no longer be seen as fires of destruction, but they will become fires of spiritual refinement and purity. Viktor Frankl, a survivor from four Holocaust internment camps said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Will your way be God’s way?
Going through life is like the first verse of the merchant looking for the prized pearl in Matthew 13. As humans we are always moving on to the next object or goal that is “precious” to us in our lives. The problem with this temporary focused cycle is that there is never any permanent satisfaction. There is always something else to move onto, but the beauty of God is that there is nothing greater than Him. Thus, based on the thoughts and choices you make, you can only move closer to or farther away from God. If there is any hope of truly shining your heart’s light to others it is going to found with God. God is pure, God is eternal, God is love and these amongst many other reasons is why God is the most valuable pearl at the end of the parable. As the merchant, are you willing to sacrifice temporary pleasures to obtain the eternal gift of salvation?
Inspired by: Philippians 4:8; 1 Peter 1:3-2:3; 2 Corinthians 11:2-3; James 1:26-27; James 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:5; Luke 10:27; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Matthew 13:45-46; Psalm 1