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Loving One Another in Purity — 14 Comments

  1. Thanks, Jennifer for the beautiful message on love. Keep me in your prayers. I find it so easy recently not to go to church.

    • Thank you Jennifer. These are the words most people, especially the young ones need to know and practice in their lives. God bless you!

  2. Thanks Jennifer. Your comment is a key message nowadays for me. Pray for me as our nature is so weak. The battle is not easy but Jesus is on our side.

  3. Perhaps we should also consider what pure love does *not* look like - particularly from a pastor, teacher, youth leader or other leader:

    1. Specific compliments on physical appearance are generally out of place from a spiritual leader who shuld be more interested in your soul than your body. (If the pastor normally says things like, "You're looking happy today," or something similar to other members, that shouldn't be a cause for concern.)

    2. Long, lingering handshake. If a pastor or elder holds your hand longer than others with whom he shook hands, be careful.

    3. Counseling sessions alone with the door closed. A spiritual leader should be concerned with "the appearance of evil" and not counsel female parishioners alone in an office with the door closed. Generally, it is preferable to have a female elder or deacon counsel women.

    4. In situations where pastors hug parishioners at the door, a longer than usual hug should cause concern. It would be appropriate to refuse the hug but offer a hand next time. If that doesn't work, avoid contact altogether.

    5. Elders our pastors should not ask members questions about their relationship with their spouses. The marriage bond is sacred. If there are serious marriage difficulties, referral to a qualified Christian counselor is appropriate.
    And even then, women should be wary of counselors that seem to care too much or touch unnecessarily.

    6. Genuine love does not check out bodies with that "look" that most women recognize.

    7. If your spiritual leader makes you feel that you are "special" to him, run the other direction! (This approach is typical for abusers who groom victims to exploit, as are several other behaviors above. And, yes, it happens in Adventist churches too.) Do not stick around to listen. That's what Eve did, and we still feel the effects.

    ** I specifically addressed the behavior of spiritual leaders because they are in a position of power, and too many vulnerable people have had their trust violated in such situations. Not only are there wolves in sheep's clothing in leadership, but it is also possible for weak leaders to fall into temptation, and it is necessary to be aware of potentially hurtful situations.
    We could apply the principles to many other situations. Please feel free to add your own ideas and/or share your experience.

    • I appreciate these practical points, Inge. You brought it down to the day to day decisions we make.

  4. I have found that we cannot maintain "good thoughts" or good feelings by just trying real hard. We will always have a tendency to have wrong thoughts and feelings when we allow natural motivations. Our natural motivations are selfishly devised. We can only be safe when God motivates our thoughts and feelings and this is the work of the agency of God's Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit can only motivate our thoughts when we choose to allow Him to motivate our thoughts and feelings because the very character of God does not allow Him to force us to think or feel the way He does. We must choose this Holy Spirit motivation. If we do not choose the Holy Spirit's motivation our natural motivation is always ready to take charge. Natural motivation always can allow selfishness to be the primary motivation for thoughts and feelings.

    The victory over wrong thoughts and feelings lies in our choice of who will motivate these thoughts and feelings. To have godly thoughts and feelings we must continually watch and pray lest we fall into selfishness. We must pray that God's Holy Spirit will be the motivation of our thoughts and feelings if we are to be successful having true love as our motivation. Our selfish motivation for thoughts and feelings must die.

    It is impossible to break the spell of wrong habits of thoughts and feelings that are lustful without giving up our selfishness and choosing God's love and allowing His Holy Spirit to motivate our thoughts and feelings. But with God all things are possible when we allow His Spirit to take the place of our selfishness to motivate our basic thoughts and feelings.

    • I couldn't agree with you more, Don. It's that mysterious blending of human choice and divine will that transforms. And when God transforms, He gets down to the motivational springs of our hearts. Once pure motivations start to flow, they transform everything--thoughts, feelings, behaviors. Great comment!

  5. The references to Baal-Peor brings to mind the idea that FEAR is often an effective restraint. Fear is sometimes shunned as a motivator [even to bring about a level of external 'purity'], but there are times, I think, when fear is the best short-term solution, even within the borders of the Christian church. But we should never forget, that as Christians, we are called to truly love our enemies.

    • That's a great statement, Stewart! I totally see it that way. We need a little more fear these days--of the holy kind. Fear awakens our nervous system and leads us to pay attention to God. Then as we see the beauty of His love, perfect love casts out fear.

    • I have not seen fear as a "good" motivator for things of the family of God. Love works much better. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. John 1:18.

      Perfect love and perfect righteousness come from the same Spirit of motivation. In this Spirit we can love righteously without sin.


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