Purified in love

2Kings 2:22: So the waters have been purified to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.  (NASB)

rose-419079_640Purification starts with the mind. When the thoughts are purified, devoid of self-deception, pride etc. can love God as we should.

John wrote about the three things that counter the love of the father in our heart, polluting it (1John 2:15-17). They are lust of the flesh, pride of life and lust of the eyes.  These are evil three conspire to compromise the love of God in us, and we need to be purified from them.

Lust of the flesh

This runs contrary to the love of God. Paul wrote that the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:17). Both pull in different directions. It is a tug of war, a fight to finish.

Jesus said we should watch and pray at a time his own tug of war was at a crescendo (Mark 14:38), as he neared the death on the cross. His love for God was tried (as Abraham love was tried when asked to sacrifice his son). Jesus was asked to sacrifice his life, and when the time drew near for that to happen, it experienced a great pull of the flesh and to overcome he prayed, leaving an example for us.

While the love of God goes in the direction of sacrifice the flesh pulls away from that. It is anathema to it.  So Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane fought his own battle to defeat the flesh and on the other side of the grave he was elevated in the Spirit. He passed the test of the lust of the flesh proving his love for God was true. Abraham did the same (Genesis 22).

We need to be pass the test of crucifying the flesh, denying it of what it wants so we can give God what he wants from us in love for him.

Jesus said that we should carry our cross and follow him (Mathew 10:38). As he died physically, we will also come to points were we need to make our choices, when we need to yield to the Spirit as against the flesh.

Jude said we should build up themselves (including our love for God) on their most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20). So through the tool of prayer (just as Jesus said we should watch and pray) we get to emphasise our spiritual aspect pulling away our fleshly dimension and persuasion.

Pride of life

While the lust of the flesh expresses its force through the emotion, the pride of life expresses itself through the intellect, the mind.

Eve bought into Satan’s proposition that she could be as wise as God, and get to be independent of him. That is the subtle deceit of the pride of life (Genesis 3). The serpent appealed to Eve to get her to run afoul of the word of God. The persuasion was in her mind.

When Jesus said to the Pharisees that since they said that they see, it means they are really blind in a spiritual sense. Their arrogance, we-know-it-all attitude, removed them from the reach of the blessing of Jesus, who has come that the blind can see. They were blinded by their pride, so a fall was inevitable (Proverbs 16:18).

They had been calcified in their opinions.  They know more than God. Their mind was their God, They will not allow anything that contradicts their preconceived notion to stand. They had pride in their history, position and knowledge, and felt rather self-contained and self-sufficient.

They were in bondage to the pride of life. They occupied the seat of Moses (Matthew 23:2) and thought that was everything; that was the be all and end all. They felt they had arrived, better than everyone else, that everyone should differ to their opinion. But God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Loving God means we keep him first, but the pride of life keeps self above God. The pride of life is the gateway to self-love and self-worship, while the love of God leads to his worship. As prayer counters the lust of the flesh, humility counters the pride of life.

Lust of the eyes

Since God is spirit, and we are make in his image, he wants us to have spiritual values. But when an eye is full of adultery (2Peter 2:14) and covetousness (Colossians 3:5), getting into the trap of the devil becomes easy compromising our love for God.

The eyes sees things, but we should submit what we see to the interpretation of the Holy Spirit (Ecclesiastes 8:1).  Jesus seen by John has eyes of fire (Revelation 1:14), able to penetrate beyond the physical presentation to the spiritual implication.

We should be taken in by appearance. For the devil to tempt Jesus he took him up on a height and showed him what he will give him if he just bowed to him (Luke 4:1-14). Jesus refused to be moved in the direction of the lust of the eyes.

Before Eve ate the forbidden fruit the devil made her see that the fruit was appealing. She was pulled by what she saw to do the wrong thing, rather than being pulled by the word of God.

The word serves to purify our eyes. When we put the word in our heart, we see correctly with the eyes of our heart and are not subject to the lust of the eyes.

The psalmist says that he has hid the word of God in his heart so that he will not sin against him (Psalm 119:9-11). To be cured of the lust of the eyes, it is not prayer, it is about the word and how its seed has grown inside us bringing forth fruits to righteousness (Ephesians 5:6-11). The word is the water that can watch our eyes and make it whole. Jesus said if the eye is single (purified) the body will be full of light (good sense of judgment) (Matthew 6:22).

When we see well we live well. Our decisions will line up with the word if our perception is shaped by it. Jesus said that his word is potent enough to cure us from sinful tendencies (which are all about wrong judgments) (John 8:30-36).

The word is God’s spiritual encoding, to cancel out the sin encoding we carried over from Adam. It has a changing quality. Peter said that we are saved by the word of God which endures forever, while saying that we should desire the word of God as a babe desire milk so that they may grow spiritually (1Peter 2:2).  Jesus will present to himself a glorious church cleansed by the washing of water by the word, purified in love (Galatians 5:22-33), with single-minded devotion to him (2Corinthians 11:3).

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