In this series on Philippians 4:8 , we have learned how to meditate on truth that is both noble and just. This strengthens and protects our minds from the negative influences that constantly cross our paths.
The next concept Paul adds to the list in Philippians 4:8 is “purity”. What a challenge it is to meditate on what is pure when many movies, TV shows, video games, and novels offer impure entertainment for young people. Purity itself is often made fun of by the world.
Jesus said that the pure in heart will “see God” ( Matthew 5:8 ). That is a good reason to aim to be pure! (To learn more about the sixth Beatitude, read “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart.”)
Let’s take a closer look at purity and how to apply it in our lives.
What does pure mean?
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance describe the Greek word translated as “pure” in these ways: clean, innocent, modest, chaste, and sacred. These definitions tell us that purity is being clean or innocent of wrongdoing—like hands that have just been washed thoroughly after being in the dirt.
Purity is trying to be simple about what is evil but wise about what is good ( Romans 16:19 ). Choosing to be unknowledgeable about evil is a way to stay pure.
Purity is trying to be simple about what is evil but wise about what is good.
God says, “Keep yourself pure” ( 1 Timothy 5:22 ). We can do this by avoiding sin and all that goes along with it. When we do mess up and do what is impure, we must do our best to clean ourselves up by asking God to forgive us and help us do the right thing next time ( 2 Corinthians 7:11 ).
As has been discussed in previous blog posts in this series, without knowing God’s just and noble truth, we would have no idea what is pure and what is impure. By using God’s standard of purity (for “He is pure,” 1 John 3:3 ), we can avoid some of life’s problems through impure thoughts, speech, and actions.
Let’s look at some ways to think and speak what is pure.
Think what is pure
To think what is pure try to:
Look for ways to apply God’s Word in your life every day. Read Galatians 5:22-23 and choose one of those character traits to apply in your life that day. What if you started with patience? Ask yourself:
• How am I going to show patience to my parents, siblings, friends, teachers, at the grocery store, while I’m doing schoolwork, while I’m learning a new piano piece?
• What does it look like to show patience?
• What does it sound like to show patience?
Think it through, talk to your parents about it, and do your best to apply it today!
Thinking what is pure also means asking yourself questions as you watch a show or movie, read a book, or listen to music.
• Am I learning something by watching this?
• Does reading this book make me want to do good works?
• Does listening to or watching this make me laugh or get joy with a pure conscience?
The answers to these questions can guide you in thinking about what is pure.
To think what is pure, try not to:
Spend time with people who purposely do what is wrong and don’t care that it is wrong. Everyone struggles with making choices that please God, but there are some people who give no regard to God and His beneficial laws. Being best friends with someone like that will cause you harm ( 1 Corinthians 15:33 ). It could lead you down the path of sin. Avoid that! It doesn’t mean that you can’t be kind to that person, but it does mean your time is precious, and you want to spend it in ways that will influence your mind in a pure way.
God looks at our hearts, and He wants us to value growing in character.
Value the outside (physical beauty and physical belongings) more than the inside (hearts and spiritual matters). We spend time thinking and talking about what we value. Satan, in his trickiness, tries to focus us on physical things, like how we look, how someone else looks, or what physical things we have or don’t have, leading us to jealousy and ingratitude. Don’t be tricked! God looks at our hearts, and He wants us to value growing in character.
Speak what is pure
To speak what is pure, try to:
Think before you speak. Ask yourself: Is what I’m about to say true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind? We especially have to work hard to speak with purity when we are with the people we are closest to, like our parents, siblings, and close friends. It is easy to let all our emotions come out and dictate our words with our loved ones because we know they will love us no matter what. But this is a chance to grow in speaking what is pure, with emotional control, asking God to guide your words to be pure.
Is what I'm about to say true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind?
Master the disappearing act. Imagine hanging out with your friends. You’re all chatting, having fun, and enjoying time together. All of a sudden the conversation changes. Someone begins talking about a topic that your parents have warned you against learning about. It would be easiest to stay there and listen, to hear about this topic you know will not bring anything good into your mind. But you choose to stir up your bravery and walk away to some other friends, to call your parents, or to use the bathroom for a looonnnng time. Disappear for a bit, asking God to give you the courage to do the right thing at the right time. He will help you.
To speak what is pure, try not to:
Tell jokes about people who are different from you. People can be different in a variety of ways, from the way they look, to how they talk, to what their beliefs are, just to name a few. It can be easy at times to make fun of someone who thinks differently from you. We see so much of this in social circles around us. But is that what God wants? If people are different from you because they disobey God, is it okay to tell jokes about them? It is important to recognize and avoid sin when you see it, but telling jokes about the sinner, who is made in the image of God, is not the direction to go.
Constantly criticize those over us. They could be our parents, grandparents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers, or camp counselors. No human being is perfect and will treat us exactly how we want to be treated. Try our best to consider that the person over us is doing their best to teach us and work with us. Ask God to help them! Remember that our speech can be impure not only by what we say but how we say it (our tone of voice, the look on our face, and our body posture).
Do what is pure
We will make mistakes because we are human and still learning as we grow up. But if our goal is to be pure, we will repent (ask God to forgive us) and try to change, not just continue to be okay with impurity in our lives. We want to be that clear, clean water that comes out of a filter, not the dirty water that goes into it. Repentance and change, little by little, helps us become clean, clear, and pure.
Meditate on what is pure
Trying to be pure in a world that celebrates and encourages impurity is hard, but the rewards to our mental and spiritual health are priceless. We should work hard to meditate on things that are lovely and pure so that our lives will match our thoughts. When you grow up, the adult you will become will thank the kid you are today for all the time and effort you put in to remaining pure.
Further Your Study
In Philippians 4:8 Paul tells us to meditate on "whatever things are just." What does it mean to be just? How can we think about being just? Read More >
In Philippians 4:8 Paul tells us to meditate on "whatever things are noble." How must we think about true things that are also noble? Read More >