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The Power to Choose Purity, by Charles R. Swindoll

    You have two choices. First, you can live your life in a horizontal fog. If that is your choice, the results are predictable. You will continue to drift in a fog of moral uncertainties. Your disobedience will result in a series of rationalizations that will leave you empty. Guilt and grief will be your companions. You can choose to live like that. If you do, you open up a door of misery for yourself. You’ll play at church. You’ll toss around a few religious words. But before very long, your lifestyle will match the atmosphere around you. Your eyes will no longer tear up. Your conscience will no longer sting. Your heart won’t beat faster. You may even stop blushing. A jaded, horizontal lifestyle is an option. But it has those consequences...those terrible consequences.

    Why? The Avenger. God doesn’t let His children play in the traffic without getting hurt. Your disobedience will result in increasing personal misery. Second, you can choose to live your life vertically on target. The benefits? You will honor the God of moral absolutes. And your obedience will result in greater personal confidence and habits of holiness. It will begin to come supernaturally. You’ll find yourself stronger, more secure, possessing a healthy self-image.

God doesn’t let His children play in the traffic without getting hurt.
    Internally, we’re a little like an automobile. The God who made us built us with all the right lights on our internal dashboard. I don’t know of anybody who after purchasing a new car also buys a little hammer for the glove compartment. Let’s imagine a weird scene. Let’s say that as two men are driving along, one of the light on the dashboard starts flashing red. The driver says to his friend, “Hand me that hammer in the glove compartment, OK? Thanks.” Tap... Tap... Tap...Bamm...Bamm...Pow ! “There! Now we’ve gotten rid of that light.” Smoke is coming out of the hood, yet the guy keeps driving along.

    How foolish! And yet, it isn’t difficult to find people who will hand out hammers. As they do, they say, “Aw, that’s needless guilt. We’re in an age where guilt is no longer considered important. You need to get rid of all that stuff.” But wait...that’s NECESSARY guilt! God help us when we don’t have it! It’s the conscience that bites into us deep within and stings us when we compromise our moral purity. When we sin, it’s supposed to hurt. We are supposed to be miserable when we compromise morally. That’s the red light flashing down inside. It’s God’s way of saying, “Pull over...stop. Lift the hood. Deal with the real problem.”

    You have available to you the power that’s necessary to solve the real problems of your life. He is Jesus Christ. And once you have the Savior, you also have the Holy Spirit. He will come inside not to mock you but to help you; not simply to cry with you over how strong the temptation is but to empower you to overcome it. You can do all things through Him who keeps on pouring His power into you. Even if you have never done it in your life, you can begin a life of power today. There’s no checklist. There’s no probation period. There’s no long list of responsibilities that you must fulfill before God will give you the power. If you’ve never met the Savior, holiness begins at the cross, where Christ paid the penalty for sin. Take Him now.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
This excerpt is taken from the booklet Moral Purity: Affirming the Value of Godliness (Zondervan Publishing House, 1995). It is available at your local bookstore or by calling 1-800-727-3480 or you can order it online now at Worthy Books. Used by permission.
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