|(photo courtesy of 2medusa.com)|
There’s so much to say on this topic, so this post is a little longer than most, and I’ll still want to say more.
The word purge comes to mind often. I’m not so much questioning why, but what it means to Christians. As you can see, there are several definitions. As you read through them, what spiritual applications come to mind? Even the definitions that pertain to bowels gain significance to me, as there are instances in the Bible (at least the KJV) where the word bowel could be translated “heart”. There are plenty of “points to ponder” here.
[purj] Show IPA verb, purged, purg·ing, noun
verb (used with object)
1.to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify.
2.to rid, clear, or free (usually followed by of or from): to purge a political party of disloyal members.
3.to clear of imputed guilt or ritual uncleanliness.
4.to clear away or wipe out legally (an offense, accusation, etc.) by atonement or other suitableaction.
5.to remove by cleansing or purifying (often followed by away, off, or out).
6.to clear or empty (the bowels) by causing evacuation.
7.to cause evacuation of the bowels of (a person).
8.to put to death or otherwise eliminate (undesirable or unwanted members)
from a political organization, government, nation, etc.
We’ve all heard the phrase “binge and purge”, generally referring to those who suffer from bulimia. They’ll binge eat, then purge what they’ve eaten so as not to gain weight. So follow my lines of logic here.
Could it be that sin is to the Christian, what food is to the bulimic? Do we, as Christians sometimes find ourselves binging on behaviors we know our Lord doesn’t approve of? Then do we ask God to forgive us, or purge us of our sin, knowing that His Word says He will.
As hurtful as it is for the bulimic to destroy her body by binging and purging, it hurts us even more to binge on sinful behaviors, only to flippantly turn around and ask God’s forgiveness. The pathway to freedom becomes scarred and our hearts become hardened. Each time we knowingly displease God, we may find it easier to do it next time.
Simple example: We miss church this week. No, we’re not sick and nothing unexpected has come up, we just don’t feel like going. How much easier might it be to miss next week, too?
God instructs us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for good reason. When we assemble together, in His Name, we are strengthened, and perhaps, convicted; we’re taught, we’re encouraged, we draw closer to God together, as the church; the body of Christ.
The enemy of our souls knows that there’s strength in numbers and firmly believes in the old adage: divide and conquer. As he separates off the weak, or unlearned or sickly amongst us, they’re easier prey.
No, God’s not going to “send you to hell” for missing church – but He instructs us to assemble together knowing it will do us good and bring Him glory. And, note, He doesn’t tell us to simply show up. When you buy that shiny new bike for your grandchild, it has to be assembled. All the pieces lying there on the floor unassembled don’t do the child any good at all.
Another example: Offensive language has become the norm and acceptable most everywhere. It’s a common symptom of a lazy mind, but yet, because everyone else does it, some of us chime in, too. We know full well God hears our words before they leave our lips. The more we use the lazy, offensive words, the more easily they pour out of our mouth. So, we binge on them.
One more? Secular music fills the air. Do I listen to it? Yes. But, I have to be careful to guard what I’m listening to and taking into my spirit. Are the lyrics negative and self-defeating? We have enough of those tape recordings playing in our heads; we don’t need the help of a catchy tune that keeps us rehearsing those words all day long and into our dreams. “Poor lonesome me…” and “Blue~~~~” drawn out with a yodeling sound, and countless other country songs come to mind, as well as some of the words to the easy listening sounds of The Carpenters. Or the harsh words, “Momma, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pull my trigger now he’s dead…” Across all genres of music, we’ll find words we know we don’t agree with and really don’t want being stored in our minds. Even some Christian songs provide verses that don’t line up with God’s Word.
But, the more we turn our radio dial to secular stations, the more often we’re listening to music without paying attention to what we’re taking in. I remember a phrase from the 80s “garbage in – garbage out”. It’s no wonder we find ourselves using “lazy” words sometimes.
Will God forgive that binging? Of course. 1 John 1:9 tells us that He is faithful to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. But when we ask for that forgiveness, He’s looking at the condition of our heart. Ever make that promise to God: Please, God, just get me through this vomiting, or this hangover (as we hover over the ol’ porcelain god) and I’ll never drink again; knowing full well you’d drink again?
God sees our hearts, even when we hide from them.
No wonder the word “purge” comes to mind so often…