(This article is equally applicable to women)
Men who live pure and holy lives are urgently needed in our society today. The problem is not just with non-Christians. Sad to say, but it is unfortunately true that many Christian men live impure lives. The appeal to people to live pure and holy lives is quickly brushed aside, accompanied by reproaches that you are quick to judge, that you are hypocritical, that you should not think you are better than others and also, who are you to judge?
The Scriptures make it clear that we must live pure and holy lives.
This is, however, not about one person who judges another. The Scriptures make it very clear that we must live pure and holy lives. When men live pure and holy lives according to God’s standards, it is reflected in their marriages. It makes their families holy, it spills over into the congregation and influences their workplace and ultimately also society. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7 we read: For God did not call us to be impure but to live a holy life. Holiness destroys immorality and impurity. The opposite is also true. Jesus explains in Mark 7:21-22 what things make us impure: evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
Pure lives lead to the restoration and preservation of marriages, prevent divorce which then drastically reduce the violent influence of divorce on families, and especially children (Mal.2:16). A pure life sets a spiritual standard in the community – it makes a choice against the impure things mentioned in Mark 7:21-22. And it is when we live holy lives dedicated to God, that peace will settle in our hearts, homes, workplaces and the country. It sets us free and blesses other people. Much of it starts with men who choose to live pure lives. Men can say no to impure relationships. Men are not ‘victims’ of their urges and of women who tempt them to become involved in impure relationships. Men make their own choices and become impure by getting involved in extramarital and sexually impure relationships, watching pornography, visiting pornographic web pages and watching films showing nudity and sexually provocative scenes. Men can choose not to do impure things like the ones Jesus mentions in Mark 7:22.
In our society today, we see more and more households devastated by violence, and here we are not referring to violence from outside. The violence is from the inside, and is, amongst a number of other things, a result of divorce. Malachi 2:16 says that God hates divorce and that it is nothing but violence. If we, as Christian men, feel strongly about God’s Word and want to put an end to the violence resulting from divorce that is destroying our children’s lives, we will have to start by obeying God’s command to live as holy men.
Choose a lifestyle that keeps you from temptation and sin.
How do I, a man, achieve a holy life? The following are a few guidelines and thoughts to consider:
- Confess your sins. Read Mark 7:22, Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out specific sins to you and write them down. Divide the different time periods in your life into sections: preschool, primary school, high school, after school, university, married life, etc. When you have confessed these sins and have put them into writing, destroy the page(s). Plan to spend time to stand before the Lord daily and ask Him to show you the things that have to be confessed. Don’t go digging for sins – just allow the Holy Spirit to show you. Carry on with this until there is nothing more to confess. Afterwards, before you go to bed in the evening, you can ask the Lord to point out to you situations where you behaved in an impure way.
- Choose a lifestyle that keeps you from temptation and sin. Find one or two people to whom you can be accountable. It must be mature people with whom you can share things in your life, whose help you can ask and who can speak to you when they see things in your life that are impure and not according to the will of God. Make an agreement with at least one person you can trust, to ask you on a regular basis if you are still living a pure life in your contact with women (this includes your conversations with women and your thoughts).
- Be wise. Don’t travel somewhere by car alone with your secretary or another woman (and if it can’t be helped, find someone else to go along.) Don’t counsel or help other women behind closed doors. Try to put a glass panel in the door in your office so that anyone can at any time see what is happening in the room. Try, as far as possible, to maintain an open-door policy. When the ‘guys’ start telling dirty jokes that belittle women, leave, or make it clear that it is not acceptable to you (normally it then stops immediately). Don’t make remarks to women that can be misunderstood and/or discuss your personal and emotional problems with another woman. Some of the things mentioned here may seem impractical to you, unheard of and even ridiculous or absurd, and yet they will protect you against a myriad of temptations. It is precisely in these situations that many men have been tempted and have sinned (Eph.5:15). Our lives should be examples to those watching us (children and non-Christians) and be of good reputation to the Christian faith.
- Be pure in how you handle money. Reflect before the Lord on your attitude towards money, things in your business that are not 100% in line with the laws of our country or that God could see as fraud or theft, and any slander or pride in your heart. Ask the Lord to help you make practical arrangements that will help you avoid every one of these snares.
- Choose to follow God radically. Take your Bible and start underlining all the commands God gives us and make sure your life is in line with these instructions or commands. Start with the New Testament – it will give you a good foundation.
- Live from a spiritual position of who you are in God. Don’t compare yourself to others and reason that someone else does or does not do a specific thing. The Word alone must be your standard.