Having a Pure Heart and Keeping a Pure Mind

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So upon reading the title of the next chapter of Fervent I thought to myself, “This sure doesn’t apply to me”. I expected “Purity” to mean to sexual purity and since I’m married I started to mentally check out before reading the chapter.

But Purity in the case of the chapter related to having a clean heart and not succumbing to temptation.

Keeping our hearts and minds pure are NOT the same thing. Each is very different and is swayed by different temptations. So I want to discuss some ways to help keep our hearts pure and our minds pure.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

To be led with your heart is to be led into trouble! Our heart can be largely driven by our emotions, and we know that our emotions often lead us astray.

To help keep our emotions in check we need to consistently check our motives.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

The slippery slope of temptation and sin is one that can be stopped simply by asking yourself why and what.

WHY are you wanting to do this and WHAT are you feeling?

If you can identify your emotion, often times you can also pinpoint the trigger.

I feel rejected. I feel upset. I feel lonely. 

Any of these emotional responses are completely normal because we are human, but because we are human we don’t like to sit in these icky feelings for very long.

You’re not choosing sin necessarily as a pleasure path, but more of an escape route.

We make some our of most impulsive decisions based on strong emotional responses.

Heart purity is about keeping our emotions in check, so mind purity is keeping our thoughts in check.

Here is a question for you, what comes first the thought or the emotion? Are you landing and staying on these thoughts that are triggering your reactions, or are you reacting emotionally first then backing up your reaction with thoughts?

I cried because I’m sad or I’m sad so I cried.

In psychology (I promise not to get too technical here) these are two common theories of emotion. But there there is another piece to the puzzle that influences how we handle sin and temptation.

Cognitive Appraisal.  (which is just a fancy way of saying how you choose to look at the situation)

This means that before we react to the situation we should think about how to respond to the situation. Let me give you an example:

You are driving down the road, already late to your destination, but then you get a flat tire! How do you respond?

Perhaps by thinking either of these:

the universe hates me, everyone is against me. what did I do to deserve a day like today?

Oh this is comical, there is nothing I can do about this so it will do no good to work myself up.

If we entertain the first way of thinking, it can quickly turn into a self- loathing and victim mentality. We don’t like to feel that way, so we can easily turn to a person or place or thing to soothe us.

If we entertain the second way of thinking, we are not working ourselves up so we don’t need to find something or someone to help calm ourselves down.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Psalm 139:23

Notice it says, anxious thoughts, as to say we need help we realize where these thoughts come from.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:24

A pure heart and pure mind start with a pure dependence on our heavenly father.

I encourage you today, sweet friend, if negative emotions and thoughts seem to overwhelm you and overtake you just remember to not REACT, but to RESPOND.

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Haggai 1:5

Don’t act without thinking. Don’t try to fill yourself up with things to satisfy you when only the Lord can truly satisfy you.

Blessings!

 

 

 

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One thought on “Having a Pure Heart and Keeping a Pure Mind

  1. Stephanie I love this. I have only recently begun to have the self control (or maybe it feels that way) to choose the right way to respond, even based on the logic of thinking out loud the difference between two choices in a matter. It makes all the difference to stop and take time to think first, but I am finding the more I live it, the more of a habit it does become to remain calm instead of lose it. This is reeaally good. You also made it super easy to understand. I think this can really help people who deal with anxiety too, even though you started out talking about purity. It all starts on the inside! Thank you!

    Like

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