Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Purity is a positive virtue for any person, man or woman, to possess. Chastity does not only pertain to physical abstinence and outward appearance, but also to steadfastness of the heart. Young people are commanded in scripture to keep their hearts, minds, and bodies pure and honorable for their future spouse. Keeping one's heart and body pure for one person is a hard commitment to make and keep, but it is essential to the Christian walk. A person with a heart and mind focused on serving God and devoting their single years to His service, is more likely to lead a life of purity, than a adolescent with no purpose or vision for their life.
Purity is not displayed by flirting, dressing immodestly, or dating numerous people. Flirting not only entails giddy behavior around other people, but also trying to sit next to the cutest person, always having to touch someone, laughing at witty comments, or talking about subjects of a more personal nature. Clothing that is worn too tightly, shirts that are too low, and skirts that are too short, are all stumbling blocks to others, especially young men. Casual dating does not allow people to get to know each others true character. It is a surface relationship, a facade.
Waiting to give one's heart away till marriage, holds a certain beauty with it that can not be out done. The beauty that shines from a pure bride who has never given herself away and has saved her first kiss for that wonderful guy on their special day, is so astounding and breath taking. Their pure love is radiant. All aspects of life are like the buds of flowers, growing and forming, waiting for the right moment to bloom. When two young lives are tied together with the vows of marriage, they blossom together forming a dazzling bouquet. Continually watered by Christ's overflowing river of grace and love, the healthy blossoms of commitment never wither.
In Psalms, David cries out to God saying, "create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirt within me." (Psalm 51:10) David, a man after God's own heart, struggled with purity and lust, but even he knew that it was sinfully wrong and asked God to renew his heart. This plea can be offered up to God from any struggling heart in a time of need and renewal. God does not give us commands, only to sit back and watch us struggle through them alone. He cares that we keep our hearts pure and that we wait to release our affection to only one person. He holds our every concern in His hands. He is listening and waiting for our cries for help, ready to assist us in our pursuit of righteousness.
A person of chastity ought to be highly praised for their strength of character and restraint. It is no easy task to keep one's self pure in heart, appearance, and character. It takes courage to face a world of opposing views. We must stand fast and not waiver.
I must say that as I stumbled through this essay trying to determine my audience and where I was coming from, Caity gave me several tips and helped me quite a bit with this essay. You can tell from her post below, she is a gifted writer. That, among her many other talents, is something I would be blessed to be able to imitate in even the smallest way.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The art of friendship is a long-lost quality that the modern culture has completely underemphasized. It used to be highly valued; a staple of adult etiquette. People cared about those around them and paused to take the time to show it. A simple cup of tea and a cookie shared with a kindred spirit meant more then any virtual comment or email ever could. Over the years the importance of talking face to face, sharing a meal, or even hand writing a letter has “gone of out style” with the culture.
In an age where facebook and twitter epitomizes the nations’ friendship status, the selfish population is left to themselves--just what they want. That is the way it should be, right? No. Who can really enjoy spending day in and day out without being touched by anyone who truly cares? No friendly neighbor dropping in. No envelope addressed in well-known cursive. No cheery phone call. No sincere friendship. Everything is computerized and impersonal. Yes, social networking, “e-groups,” blog posts, and instant messaging allow people to exchange words in cyberspace, but that can hardly be considered camaraderie.
Communication has become so easy that people no longer have to sacrifice more than a quick minute to say “hey.” Flipping through countless ego-photos, sending any number of a electronic hugs and smiles, posting “likes,” or carrying on brief but surface conversations cannot equate a portion of time deliberately taken out of a daily schedule and devoted to spending the afternoon in the home of a friend. Talking to a friend is relaxing and stimulating. Like a steaming cup of coffee and a cozy blanket and a good book on a chilly afternoon, a friend will always be there to comfort and encourage, ready to conquer the problems of the world, smile through the tears, talk sense when needed, or simply make another mocha.
Being a friend is hard and takes a substantial amount of energy to keep up biblical gregariousness. But God’s disciples are called numerous times in Scripture to surmount this difficult task. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Christians need to be available to support and sympathize with fellow believers; in short, extend the hand of amicable friendship. Throughout the Bible, God says to love one’s neighbor, do good to him, and have a brotherly affection for him. Friendship is not an option, but rather an obligation as a son or daughter of God the Father.
Genuine bonhomie takes time. It must be a conscious endeavor to be sympathetic to the hurting, loyal to the unloveable, merciful to the quirky, compassionate to the suffering, faithful to the fickle, sensitive to the weak, considerate to the offended. One has to live sacrificially--especially when it is inconvenient--in order to maintain healthy affable conviviality between brothers and sisters in Christ. Giving up personal plans and desires is one of the hardest but most important acts of kindness someone can demonstrate to a friend. A person trying to live this in this mindset is well on the way to being the type of person that everyone desires to befriend.
Face to Face- Steve Wilkins