So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. James 4:7-8 (NLT)
How do we purify our hearts?
Acts 15:8-9 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. (NIV)
The good news is that by your faith in Jesus Christ, God first purified your heart. But it is your will to continue to keep it pure. Your heart and your loyalty cannot, and should not, be divided between God and the world.
1 John 1:7 teaches us:
. . . if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Notice there is an IF. IF we walk in the light. Walking in the light is up to you. Keeping your heart pure is up to you. Remaining humble, resisting the devil, drawing close to God, loving others – that is all up to you.
God will never go against your will.
Do you make mistakes? Absolutely, we all do! And praise God, he is faithful and just and will forgive you your sins and purify you from all unrighteousness when you come to him with a sincere heart and ask for his forgiveness! But making a mistake and willfully sinning are two different things.
Remember, God knows your heart!
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth . . .
Here is a key! You MUST continue to purify your heart by obeying the truth, and the truth is being obedient to God’s word alone. We cannot be pure before God if we are walking and trusting in the ways of the world.
. . . dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 1 Corinthians 7:1
What in your life contaminates your body and spirit?
You, as a member of the body of Christ, are to be an example to others. Your heart and ways must be pure. As a child of God, you are to be a representative of the Kingdom and of the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot be like the world.
1 Timothy 4:12b Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
You are to be like Jesus!
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3