Titus 1:15-16: 15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.
This is an interesting passage. I think it could be taken a lot of ways. In context, it is alluding to pure and impure foods and the regulations around things of that nature but I think we can apply it to all types of situations. A truly pure person has a heart for God. A pure person lives a life with an uncompromising desire to please God. Jesus is a pure person’s barometer and a pure person does not need external validation gained from following a bunch of man-made rules. A truly pure person’s purity comes from knowing and loving God to the point that they’re disinterested and unwilling to take part in evil things. A pure person doesn’t need man-made rules because when they’re sold out and following Jesus His rules and ways are far superior and his bar is higher. When we trust and follow the Lord He will guide us to a higher standard and level.
I know at the time that Paul wrote this letter the Jews were heavily emphasizing purity and they had developed thousands of rules and regulations that deemed many things impure. In their eyes, falling short of these rules was the problem. God was secondary to these rules. The interesting thing is that many of those things were not actually impure. They made laws to make laws and many laws become unbearable and basically become a religion of their own. Following those laws didn’t necessarily bring someone closer to God. In fact, they distracted the Jews from experiencing Jesus. Following those laws also didn’t make someone pure. In fact, Jesus said, “Their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Matthew 15:8–9).
Following Christ is about Christ. It isn’t about silly rules or customs. It is very easy to follow the rules and project the image of being a good Christian even today. There are plenty of Christians that attend church weekly, listen to Christian radio stations, and check the Christian box on their social media profiles that don’t know God. They aren’t trying to know God. They aren’t investing in that relationship. They pretend enough to get by but live just like any non-believer Monday through Saturday. In fact, I could make a pretty good argument that the majority of self-professed Christians especially here in America aren’t really pursuing God in the ways he desires. This is easily revealed in how they live their lives and how they invest their energy. Many spend hours a day on social media and TV but can’t find the time to read or pray. Many talk a good game with other Christians but behind closed doors spend their time watching and consuming things that are terrible.
I say they but more often than I care to admit I have found myself in this camp doing some of these very things. It is easy to do in our modern society. In fact, it is hard not to with social media and TV filled with things that contrast God’s teaching. On top of that, it feels like simply saying you are a Christian is enough. In fact, sometimes it feels like in our corrupt society that saying we’re a Christian in itself is such a huge step it is all we need to do. Just by doing that we’re setting ourselves apart and following Christ.
Jesus calls us to something so much greater. If we truly want to follow Him we won’t be satisfied simply by checking a box and living like a non-believer. If we lean into God and our relationship with Him we will find that not only does he work to purify our hearts and minds He changes us completely from the inside out. He has been doing that and working on me for years but each day I feel my mind and heart evolving and it is the work of Christ within me refining me. I certainly won’t claim to be pure or even close to being at the end of my journey but I have had enough of a taste of what Christ brings through my relationship with Him that I will not turn back to simply trying to follow the big rules. Nor will I go back to being a consumer Christian. I will not regress to a superficial ‘yes I believe in God’ type relationship. I am not content with anything less than a full, deep, exclusive relationship with Christ. I am working to invest in that daily and I will continue to do so! I want that deep, lasting relationship with Him. I want the pure heart that only comes through a true and honest relationship with Jesus.