News Articles

Speaker calls faith without purity an exercise in spiritual calisthenics

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–“Purity is not what you do and don’t do; it’s the state of your heart,” a speaker and author told college students during the Aug. 7-13 Student Conference at Glorieta (N.M.), a LifeWay Conference Center.
Emphasizing the importance of a commitment to purity, Dave Edwards of Oklahoma City said, “Without an ethic of purity, everything else is spiritual calisthenics.”
Edwards, who spoke in four sessions to the 1,600-plus students attending the conference, is author of “Holy and Acceptable: Building a Pure Temple,” one of five new books supporting CrossSeekers, a Southern Baptist discipleship initiative for collegians.
Speaking from the Gospel of Luke and focusing on the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth, he listed four dimensions of purity that must be evident in the life of a growing Christian.
First, he said a Christian must be committed to living a pure life.
“You can be committed to Christianity, you can be committed to worship, you can be committed to evangelism and still not be committed to purity which has to come out of your desire to walk with God. When your passion for purity grows out of that desire, it will last,” Edwards said.
Second, a Christian must be committed to purity in the mundane things of life. “What happens in the mundane,” he said, “orders what happens in the big things of life.”
Edwards listed eight questions students should ask themselves in evaluating their daily commitment to purity:
1) Have I been anywhere this week that could be seen as compromise?
2) Have any of my financial dealings lacked integrity?
3) Have I exposed myself to any explicit material?
4) Have I spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
5) Have I given priority to my family?
6) Have I this week fulfilled the demands of my calling?
7) Have I trusted God’s timing for my life?
8) Have I just lied to myself?
In another area, Edwards said purity demands a courageous prayer life.
“One of the things about establishing purity in your life is you begin to look at prayer differently,” he said. “What are you praying for? What are you believing God for?” he asked.
Fourth, he said Christians committed to purity celebrate the presence of life.
“Everything you dream of for marriage or a career can be yours, but not before God gets control of your life,” he said.
In another session, Edwards said, “What sets us [Christians] apart on our college campuses is not that we play ping pong at the BSU [Baptist Student Union] but that we order our lives so God is in charge,” beginning with receiving and following instructions.
“It doesn’t do any good to read the Word of God if we’re not going to let it penetrate our lifestyle and act on it,” he said. “The singular indicator of a person bending their life to the moral attributes of God is that they can be instructed.”
Edwards also challenged students to rule their instincts.
“Whatever God commands you to do, you’ve got it in you to do it. It’s a choice. You can conform your life to the will of God,” he said.
In addition, he said Christians committed to purity must live lives of integrity and be “quick obeyers.”
“There’s a gap in everyone’s life between the time God speaks and you obey. You know you’re maturing when you’re narrowing the gap. If you’re not receiving and obeying the moral attributes of God, you’re not maturing.”
In addition to purity, the CrossSeekers covenant includes a commitment to integrity, spiritual growth, witnessing, service and Christlike relationships.
More information about CrossSeekers is available on the Internet at www.crossseekers.org.
National student ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention sponsored Student Week.

    About the Author

  • Linda Lawson