Samuel Logan Brengle was a preacher and writer in the Salvation Army. In one of his books, he told the following story:
Some time ago, two Salvation Army officers were traveling by train. The railway carriage was crowded and they were separated. One of them sat down by an elderly man, and in a short time they were in conversation with a gentleman in front of them. Soon the elderly man looked about and said, "There are no women near who can hear, are there? I want to tell a story." The officer was at once on guard, and said, "I am a Salvationist, sir. I do not wish to hear a story that would be unfit for ladies to hear." The old man looked ashamed, the gentleman in front looked a look of wonder, and the nasty story was not told. The Salvationist, no doubt, escaped a great temptation.
That Salvationist's answer was surprising to his companions. It was also certainly pleasing to God because that Salvation Army officer made a right choice: purity of heart and mind (and ears!).
Purity is right. It is right because God commands purity (Isaiah 52:11; James 4:8). It is right because God values purity (Matthew 5:8). It is right because God is pure (1 John 3:3).
God wants us to be pure in what we think about. He wants us to be pure in what we say. He wants us to be pure in what we listen to or laugh at. He wants us to be pure in what we put into our body. He wants us to be pure in what we look at. He wants us to be pure in all these areas because he is pure. And to be pure in thought, word, and deed is to be like him.
REFLECT: Think about real, specific ways you can "work toward complete purity" (2 Corinthians 7:1) and then complete the following statements:
"I want to be pure in what I think about, so I will".
"I want to be pure in what I say, so I will".
"I want to be pure in what I listen to or laugh at, so I will".
"I want to be pure in what I put into my body, so I will".
"I want to be pure in what I look at, so I will".
PRAY: "Lord, I want to be pure, as you are pure. Please help me not to... [look at impure things, use bad language, etc.], and help me as I cleanse myself from everything that can defile my body or spirit."