31DaysOfPurityThrough the month of March, I have invited you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. We have drawn to the end of the month at last. Here is day thirty-one, the final day in this 31-day challenge.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  (Jude 1:24-25)

This closes our 31 days together, but it does not close our lifelong pursuit of sexual purity. In fact, we have only just begun. Today we are praying for ourselves and for one another that we would continue to persevere in purity. Keep going, men. The battle is not over. Tomorrow morning you will need to start over in your pursuit of purity. And as you do, remember that the Lord Jesus—and only the Lord Jesus—is able to keep you from stumbling.

One day we will be presented blameless before the Lord and there will be great joy. Though that day is not yet called “today,” it is absolutely certain. Therefore, let us press on all the more as we look forward to that day. Why don’t you grab a friend and go through this challenge again?

Lord, thank you for all those that have prayed and battled for purity these 31 days. I pray that they would continue on in the battle. Help me to continue praying with them and pursuing purity together. Cause us to endure in this great endeavor. May Christ be glorified through us. Transform our hearts and our homes for His name. I am thankful that you are able to keep me from stumbling. Help me press on in purity, all the while looking forward to the day when I will be presented spotless in Your presence. Amen.

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31DaysOfPurity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-nine:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Sometimes we get so caught up in the moment that we lose all sense of perspective. We become like the man who stands before the sweeping mountain vista, but will only gaze at the ground beneath his feet. What he sees is real, but it is so small and so limited. We need to lift our eyes to catch the bigger perspective—the eternal perspective. Like Paul, we need to fix our eyes on what is unseen and eternal.

This life matters. But this life is short. When we put our lifespans in the context of eternity, they are but the shortest blip, the shortest dash between the two dates on a gravestone. While another evening of battling sexual sin can seem like the longest and most difficult night of our lives, it is but the shortest tick of the clock in the context of eternity. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17). Even this temptation, this affliction, is so light when we compare it to the joy that awaits us.

Father, help me to keep my eyes fixed on what is unseen and eternal. Help me to view my life, and my moments of temptation, in the context of eternity. While these temptations can feel so weighty and so difficult, I want to know and believe that they are but light and momentary afflictions compared to the eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison you have prepared for me. I long for the day when I will be with you forever. Prepare me for that day by giving me your grace to battle sexual sin today and every day.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-nine:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Our bodies follow our minds. This is the consistent witness of Scripture, which always places mind before body. Throughout his life, the Christian is to be renewing his mind by the Word of God, to take it into captivity and bring it into conformity. As he does this, his words and his deeds, and even his thoughts, will necessarily follow.

If there is any area where we let our bodies dictate our thoughts and our actions, it is here in the context of sexual purity, in those times when the body seems to cry out in dissatisfaction. When we wallow in sexual sin, we fill our minds with what is impure, as if Philippians 4 commands us to think about whatever is false, whatever is deplorable, whatever is unfair, whatever is impure, whatever is ugly, whatever is critical, if there is any depravity, if there is anything worthy of rebuke, we think about these things. And, not surprisingly, our bodies follow our minds.

It is so much better to heed and to practice Philippians 4 which commands us to think about what is good and noble and pure. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Think about those things, brother, and let God transform your thoughts and your actions.

Father, I pray that you would do your work of mind-renewal within me. I know that my behavior follows my thoughts, so I pray that you would help me to think about those things that are true and beautiful. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, I pray that you would help me to think about these things and to love thinking about these things.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-eight:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God tells us that victory over sin is certain—even those sins we have held to for so long. This can be hard to believe when we look to the past and see only failure after failure. It can be hard to believe when sin’s power is so strong and when giving in to sin promises such satisfaction. Yet we must believe that in Christ we are new creations—the old has gone and the new has come. In Christ we are becoming who we are, increasingly taking hold of who we are in Him. Where we once delighted to do evil, we can have confidence that one day we will delight to avoid evil. Where we once hated to do what is right, we can have confidence that one day we will delight to do what is right.

We really can hope and believe for such radical change. However, there may be a long period of time and many struggles between the two extremes. It rarely happens overnight. In that period where you are battling hard against sin, where you are developing new patterns of doing what is right instead of doing what God forbids, be sure to celebrate the small victories. Each of those victories is an evidence of God’s grace in your life. When you choose to do the right thing instead of the sinful thing, give thanks to God. When you have gone longer than you’ve ever gone before without succumbing to the temptation, celebrate with a friend and thank the Lord. Celebrate his grace by praising his name.

Father, I am thankful that in Christ I am a new creation. I believe what you say: the old has passed away and the new has come. Let me be who I am in Christ. Let me take hold of all Christ offers. I thank you for giving me grace—grace to see my sin, grace to hate my sin and grace to overcome my sin. All of this is an evidence of your work in my life, and I thank you for it. Help me to celebrate day-by-day what you are doing in and through me.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-seven:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12 ESV).

“The psalm of all psalms” is how one writer described this song that David composed in those broken moments when the prophet’s accusation still echoed in his throne room: “You are the man” (2 Samuel 12:7). You are the man who received the crown of Israel but then stole the wife of your most loyal servant (12:8). You are the anointed protector of the sheep who has now slaughtered one of his own (12:9). You are the man whose sin will claim the life of your son (12:14)—not only the infant now nestled at Bathsheba’s breast but also a more distant Son who will die spiked on a blood-soaked beam. Because—and only because—of this more distant Son, “The LORD also has put away your sin” (12:13).

The heart of this “psalm of all psalms” is David’s plea for restoration (Psalm 51:7-12), and the climax of this plea is his yearning cry for “the joy of your salvation” (51:12). David hadn’t forfeited God’s gift of salvation, but he had lost the joy of what God in his grace had provided.

When, though, did David lose this joy of his salvation, and why? Was it after his sin? Or could it have been at some point before? I would suggest that David’s loss of joy was not the result of his sin but part of the cause. David’s sinful actions were the fruit of his failure to recall that the lasting joy of God’s salvation far outstripped the passing pleasure of Bathsheba’s flesh. David had already lost sight of the joy of God’s salvation before he saw the young woman bathing on the roof and chose to call her into his chambers. It was, at least in part, due to David’s misplaced joy that he sacrificed his integrity for a false and fleeting joy that could never satisfy his soul. Now, the penitent king begged God to restore his lost joy.

Purity flows from a heart that recognizes the joy of God’s salvation as a gift more satisfying than any competing pleasure the world can provide. This joy is accompanied by inward transformation (“a willing spirit,” 51:12) and results in outward proclamation (51:13).

My Father and my God,
The day has barely begun
and already I hear the serpent’s soft-pedaled whisper
telling me that there are pleasures greater
than anything you can offer.

Give me a willing spirit—
a spirit willing to trust
that there is no pleasure greater than the joy you have granted in Christ,
that there is no pleasure so great that it is worth trading for your holiness
and that there is no gift I need that you through your Spirit will not provide
In the name of Jesus Christ, my Brother and my Lord,
Amen.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Today’s devotional was written by Timothy Paul Jones. Timothy Paul Jones serves as associate vice president and professor of leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before coming to Louisville, Timothy led churches in Missouri and Oklahoma as a pastor and an associate pastor. He has authored or contributed to more than a dozen books, and he blogs at timothypauljones.com. Timothy and his wife Rayann have three daughters; the Jones family serves in the SojournKids children’s ministry at Sojourn Community Church.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-five:

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

You may be asking, “What in the world does forgiving others have to do with 31 days of purity”? It has everything to do with personal purity. Even when you are neck-deep in sin, or even better, deeply engaged in the battle against sin, the bitter roots of unforgiveness can be spreading throughout your heart. God’s Word tells us that the one who is forgiven much must also be so willing and eager to forgive others. It is entirely possible that as you’ve indulged in sexual impurity you have been carrying around a secret bitterness toward the objects of your disordered affections. Or perhaps you’ve been sinned against sexually in the past and the bitterness has grown.

As you have sought forgiveness from God for your sexual sin, have you considered your need to forgive others? Have you forgiven your dad for exposing you to that pornographic magazine when you were only a little boy? What about the bitterness you may feel toward the people who produced the pornography in the first place, or the people who have marketed it so effectively so they’ve tripped you up again and again? While you can and should see them as enemies to the gospel and enemies to personal holiness, Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and to forgive all those who have asked for it. Are you willing to forgive? Are you willing to let go of the bitterness? Will you, who have been forgiven so great a debt, still hold another person’s sin against him?

Father, you have forgiven me of a debt that I could not pay. I have sinned against you more than others have sinned against me, and yet I harbor feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness. Reveal to my heart the places where I have not forgiven others and give me the grace to forgive them if and when they ask. I pray that you would bless those that have done me harm. Restore my bitter heart with a heart of deep forgiveness and appreciation for your grace. Amen. 

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-five:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Brothers, we are wounded. We are all wounded. I know this because you and I live in a fallen, broken world. Some of our wounds are self-inflicted. Some wounds are a result of the sin of other people. Some wounds are just a result of living in and blundering through a fallen world. Regardless of their source, we can have confidence that God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

If you are in Christ, your identity is not that of a victim. No matter how deep the wounds or how far-reaching the scars, your defining identity is not that of a wounded man. You have been washed. You have been cleaned. You have been healed. Yes, you might still carry around scars, but scars are no longer seeping wounds, instead they are testimonies of healing and grace. Whatever wounds or scars you bear, pray today that the Lord would give you ultimate healing. No wound is too deep for Christ to fill up with His goodness and mercy.

Father, I am grateful that you heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds. I’m a wounded man. Some of these wounds are from my own sinful and foolish choices. Other wounds are caused by the hand of another. Lord, I want these to be healed. I know that praying for healing might mean that you will have to reopen wounds to give redemption in these areas. Heal the places in my heart that are broken. Bind up my wounds. Overwhelm me with your grace and mercy. Where there were once ashes, replace them with your beauty. Amen.

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-four:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:13-14)

In 1954 Roger Bannister and John Landy squared off in a monumental race. Both men had recently accomplished the unthinkable by running a mile in under 4 minutes. Landy led for most of the race, even building a lead of 10 yards at one point. But on the last leg of the race he made the mistake that runners should never make—he looked back. Bannister raced past him and never again gave up the lead.

In our battle for purity that which is behind us (our past) can steal our gaze. We can fall into the trap of thinking too much of our past successes or we can run slower because of the weight of our past failures. Here Paul is not calling us to simply forget our past as if it doesn’t exist. Instead, he is calling us to trust the Lord with our past (both success and failure) and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ.

If you’ve fallen trust the provision of a gracious Savior. If you’ve won a battle trust that it was the provision of a transforming Lord. Then keep running.

Father, I thank you that you are not only the Lord of my present and future but also my past. You know every time that I have failed and you know every time that I will fail. You know ever victory of grace that will happen in my life. And all of these you knew before the foundation of the world. Help me to trust you with my past. Whether it is the wounds left by others, my own failures, or even the times when I have triumphed in obedience, I entrust them to you. 

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-three:

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25, ESV)

A locust invasion brings devastation to the land. Here Joel gives us a picture of a land that was “the garden of Eden before them but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them.” (Joel 2:2) These locusts have brought total destruction, and the consequences of sexual impurity can be much the same. Sin has no intention of stopping its devastation. Just as with a mighty swarm of locusts, nothing escapes its destruction. Unless the Lord rescues us, our sin will be more devastating than a locust plague.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ has come to conquer the works of the devil. He has come to restore that which has been destroyed by sin. There might be consequences to your sin that cannot be fully restored this side of eternity. But we can rest assured that Christ is, indeed, making all things new. He promises that will restore completely. Therefore, let us thank him for his restoration and plead with him to restore in us the things that have been wrecked by impurity.

Father, I know that my sin has taken a toll on my life. Its effects touch every area of my being. There are things in my heart and mind that I wish could be forever blotted out. And there are areas in my life that have been decimated by my sin. You alone have the power to rebuild what I have destroyed. I know that ultimately you will restore everything and make all things new. I believe this and thank you for it. I pray today that your future redemption would touch the present. Restore what has been wrecked by my impurity for your name’s sake. 

What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).

Todays devotional was prepared by Mike Leake. Mike is associate pastor of First Baptist Church of Jasper, IN. He and his wife, Nikki have 2 children (Isaiah and Hannah). Mike is the author of Torn to Heal and regularly blogs at mikeleake.net.

31 Days of Purity

Through the month of March, I am inviting you to 31 Days of Purity—thirty-one days of thinking about and praying for sexual purity. Each day features a short passage of Scripture, a reflection on that passage, and a brief prayer. Here is day twenty-two:

And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.” (Proverbs 5:7-14)

These words were written thousands of years before anyone had even dreamed of a computer. They were written millennia before cameras and screens and iPads and so many of the media that transport today’s sexual temptations. And yet they are as applicable to us as they were to Solomon, all those years ago. Here the wise father writes to his son and warns him to stay far away from the house of the harlot, from that place of sexual temptation and sexual sin. He knows that if his son walks along the edge of the cliff, he will inevitably fall into the chasm.

A few days ago we prayed that God would give us a willingness to gouge out and cut off whatever it is that causes us to sin. Have you done that? Now Solomon warns us that we need to stay far, far from any area of temptation. We cannot tiptoe along the cliff’s edge and expect to remain steady on our feet. What path do you walk that leads you to sexual sin? What pattern do you follow before you fall into sexual sin? Is it mindlessly browsing Facebook? Is it staying up too late? It is driving past the house of the prostitute? Read Solomon’s warning, pray for God’s wisdom, and beware your steps.

Father, I ask that you would show me the patterns I follow that lead me to sexual sin. I don’t want to go near the door of the prostitute. I don’t want to go near the porn site. I don’t want to go to any place where my eyes and mind are prone to wander into impurity. I don’t want to walk along the cliff and expect that this time I won’t fall in. Thank you for your kind warning, given through Solomon. Now give me your wisdom, give me your strength, give me your protection. Let me do, and let me long to do, only what is right.


What Now? Consider joining our 31 Days of Purity Facebook group. It is optional, but you will find it a good place to go for discussion and encouragement. (Note: that Facebook group is for men only; here is one for Women Supporting Men).