Monday, April 30, 2012

"Every Life Has a Story"

If I asked you how many people you see in a given day, what would you tell me? Whether it's at work, at school, going out to eat, running into the grocery store, or running your errands, chances that you pass by a lot of people every day. But how much do we really pay attention to the people we see? Do you notice them? Or do you breeze by them like I do?

See, I've been thinking a lot lately. When I read about Jesus, one of the things I notice is that He is constantly aware of the people around Him. He always notices the sick, the blind, or the lame. He had a knack for reading between the lines and perceiving things that nobody else picked up on.

Do you remember the story where the sick woman touched Jesus' cloak and was healed? Mark 5:24-30 says, "A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?' 'You see the people crowding against you,' His disciples answered, 'and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?'"

So basically, Jesus is in the midst of a big crowd of people who are all trying to get as close to Him as possible. Think Justin Bieber and a thousand starstruck teenage girls and you've got the right idea. And this sick woman presses through the crowd to touch Jesus so she can finally be healed. She manages to get a hand on His cloak (which is, not to forget, an outer garment, one that you don't normally notice someone touching) and Jesus immediately wants to know who touched Him. And this is my favorite part: His disciples indignantly snap, "You're in a huge crowd, Jesus. Everyone is touching you! Why on earth are you asking you touched you?!" I can just imagine the disciples thinking how dumb Jesus must be to ask such a stupid question.

But Jesus is different than them. He has an inhuman awareness. The Bible says that He felt power go out from Him, so He knew He had inadvertently healed someone. Of course, being God, Jesus was all-knowing. He never asked a question that He didn't know the answer to. Yet He turned around in this huge mob of a crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" I think it was His way of asking the healed woman to come forward and to reveal herself.

Let's finish the story. I'll pick up in Mark 5:31 and end in Mark 5:34: "'You see the people crowding against you,' His disciples answered, 'and yet you can ask, 'Who touched me?' But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, 'Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.'"

Jesus didn't have to turn around. He had already healed her; what else was there to do? But He turned around, nevertheless. He turned around to meet the woman because He cared more about the person than the disease.

I can't help thinking about how I treat the people that I pass by. When I'm in big crowds, do I give people a second glance? Or do I just brush past them to get to my destination? How many times have I passed someone who needed help, but I was too busy or too lazy to notice?

What about you? Do you notice them?

I think these people are all around us. The person who took your order at the fast-food restaurant you had lunch at. The man who helped you find what you were looking for in Home Depot. The new guy in your Sunday School class. The lady with two noisy young children at the table next to you. The coach of your basketball team. It can be any of us. It can be all of us. Do you notice them?

At Chick-fil-A, we came out with this video about a year and a half ago. I saw it recently for the first time, and it's changed the way I see people and the way I try to interact with them. Click on it to watch it:

"Every life has a story... if we only bother to read it."

Jesus noticed them. He read their story. He saw their needs. And He met them.

Do you notice them?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Should Parents Be Involved In Youth Group?

Should parents get involved in the youth group? This has been something I've been contemplating a lot in the past few weeks. A few friends of mine are ardently against their parents helping out in the youth ministry, so I've been thinking about whether or not it's fair of the kids to tell their parents to not help in the youth group. What do you think? Assuming your parents are not involved already, how would you feel if they did start to help out? Would you be okay with it or would you feel like they were intruding on your turf?

In my case, both of my parents are heavily involved with my youth group. They are the only adult assistants besides my youth pastor and his wife. They bring a lot to the table and I'm comfortable with them in the room. I can talk openly in the youth room knowing they are there because I talk openly with them at home. But this isn't the case for everyone. There are some parents who are better suited to help out in other areas of the church. That's not saying they wouldn't be good with the teens, but God just wants them elsewhere. And some parents... well... some parents have no business helping in the youth ministry. We can identify those real fast. So I believe it depends on the parents we are talking about. Some parents would be awesome to have in the youth group; some wouldn't.

However, I also believe a lot depends on the children we are talking about. Some teenagers, like me, are totally cool with their parents. As I said, I like having my mom and dad in the youth group. But there are some kids who can't stand the idea of their parents being involved with the youth. They don't feel comfortable with their parents in the youth group. They say they feel like their parents are intruding. They say they don't feel comfortable talking about God and life and their problems with their parents in the room.

You know what I think about that? Bull. Crap. I think in situations like these, the teenager is just being immature and insecure. Why else would you want to block your parents from helping out? My thing is that if you aren't comfortable with being real about your relationship with God in front of your parents, you don't have much of a relationship to be real about. If you can't be open and honest with your Christian parents about your faith, there probably isn't much faith for you to talk about.

I'm sure that sounds harsh and rude, but please just think about it and you'll know that I'm right. A true Christian is not ashamed of the Gospel. If you are too ashamed or scared to talk about your faith in front of your parents, you may need to seriously evaluate whether or not you are a Christian.

Now I get the idea of wanting independence. I want my independence too. I'd like to move out of the house in a summer or two so I can establish my own independence and be my own man. I get the desire for independence. And if the situation you are in is a situation where your parents act like parents instead of adult assistants when they help out, I sympathize with you. Parents need to give their kids space to grow up, to find their own identity, and to find their own faith.

But with that in mind, I also believe that the best youth pastors are people who have raised or are raising teenagers of their own. There's just a different level of understanding and connection with a youth pastor when he or she has had teenagers of their own. If they've been good parents, they connect better with the kids than someone who has never had teenagers. My current youth pastor has three kids and the youngest is almost sixteen, and I have observed a huge difference in him and in other youth pastors who don't have teenagers. I'm not sure why there is that difference, but there just is. Adults who have teenagers are able to help in youth in ways that other adults couldn't. I think we should value the parents who are serving in youth ministry, because being a teenager myself, I know how frustrating the teenage age bracket can be to deal with.

I just get fired up when I see teenagers blocking their parents from serving in the church. Who are you to tell your mom and dad that they can't help out in the youth group? The Bible says to honor your father and mother, and it doesn't seem very honoring or respectful to tell them you don't want them there. If they feel like God wants them to help out, then let them help! If you're cool with them helping out, they won't be cramping your style or anything like that. They may actually become your friends if you let them. You may not always see eye to eye with them on things, but trust me when I say that it is to your benefit if your parents want to be involved. So don't fight it. Instead, embrace it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

After God's Own Heart

Are you pursuing God? Are you living a life in pursuit of God? Are you a man or woman after God's own heart, like King David was?

I don't know about you, but when I die, I want people to remember me as a man after God's own heart. At my funeral, I want the eulogist to remember me as a man who used his lifetime to pursue God. I don't want to waste my life. I don't want to be an old man and realize that my whole life was a waste. That's always been one of my biggest fears. I don't want to be burdened by regret when I am old. I don't want to lay awake at night paralyzed by the knowledge that I could have and should have done more with my life. I want my life to count. I want to be proud of my life. I want to get to the end and be content with my life. I want to know that I used my life for the glory of God. I want my life to be a lifelong pursuit of my Creator and Savior. I want my life to be the result of my desire and passion to know Christ.

I want my life to count, to matter, to be something. I don't have to be written about in history books or be a household name. If that happened, that'd be really cool and it'd be all the more glory to God. But honestly, I just want to know Christ. The rest is inconsequential. Nothing is as important to me as my relationship with Christ. It's the only thing with eternal relevance. Your pursuit of God is the most important and most critical part of your life. And it all comes down to your desire for God. If you don't desire God, if you don't want Him, then you aren't actually following Him.

You see, a relationship with God is in some ways similar to all other relationships. If you have a special someone, then you want to be with that person because you really like him or her. You may even love that person. You want to spend every waking moment with that person because your attraction is so strong and so focused. And it's the same way with God. If God is special to you, you'll spend time in prayer. You'll read your Bible, and what you read will change you. If you desire God and thus pursue Him, He will become your everything. Every little thing in your life will be centered on God. He becomes everything you live for. He becomes Someone worth dying for.

I have here a quote from A.W. Tozer in his book The Pursuit of God. Tozer writes, "I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain."

If you want to follow Christ, then you have to have the acute desire that Tozer talks about. You have to want God. You have to desire God. Otherwise, your religion is dead, your faith is nonexistant, and you are a fake. If you don't desire God, if you aren't in pursuit of Him, then you are not a Christian.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Lamp To My Feet

I think one of the most common questions that people ask is, "What is God's will for my life?" As humans, we want to know what our purpose in life is. We want to know who to marry, where to go to college, which car to buy, what job to apply for, where to go to church, and all sorts of other big life questions. And at the root of all these questions is a desire to know what my purpose in life is. At some time, everyone asks questions like, "What did God create me for? What does He want me to do? What is God's will for my life?"

But there is also the question, "Can I even know what God's will is?" Could God be so big and huge that He doesn't care about me? Did He create me just for the sake of creating me or did He create me with a direct and specific purpose? Does He really care that much about me? The answer is yes. God cares so much about us that He is willing to share His purpose with those who are willing to listen. So the answer is yes, you can know what God's purpose is for your life.

And what is that purpose, you might ask? The Bible says that our purpose in life is to bring glory and attention to God. Our ultimate purpose is to live a life of praise and worship, which glorifies God and calls others to pay attention to His goodness and greatness. God created us to worship Him. And if we live a life of worship, people will notice. They will notice and begin to wonder how they can have the joy and peace and satisfaction and contentment that we have, and they may even decide to follow Christ themselves.

So the ultimate purpose in life is to bring glory and attention to God. But what does that look like on a practical level? How does that play out in a real-life situation?

You see, I believe that God reveals your purpose to you step by step. He doesn't reveal it all to you; instead, throughout your life, He reveals bits and pieces of it. For me, it all comes down to Psalms 119:105. It says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." The way I see it is that imagine being in the woods alone in the dark. You have a flashlight that is enough to see where to take a step or two. But the flashlight doesn't illuminate the entire pathway. You have to take it step by step. And I believe that life is the same way. You can't see the end of the path. God only gives you enough to take a few steps.

So why doesn't He just reveal it all to you at once? Well, think about it this way. If you sat down to play a board game with your friends, and you knew exactly who would win and how they would win, it wouldn't be much fun, would it? If you know from the start that Col. Mustard killed Mrs. Peacock in the Kitchen with the Knife, then Clue suddenly just lost all the fun. It's boring and mundane. And life would be the same way. If you knew who you would marry, how you would make a living, what you would study in college, what score you would get on the ACT, who you went to prom with, and what church you would go to, then what do you have to look forward to? How would life be exciting or fun or worth even living?

So don't even try to figure it all out. God will reveal to you what He needs you to know in His timing. Trust God with your life. Trust in His guidance and His timing. Let His word and His wisdom be a lamp for your feet and a light to your path.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Riding The Fence

Why do so many fake their relationship with Christ? Why is the church so full of hypocrites? Why do some people profess to be Christians but their lifestyles are the complete opposite of Christ's? Why do so many choose to ride the fence?

I've always wanted to know why so many people choose to say they are a follower but live like they aren't. Surely we all know some people who are like this. I've grown up in church and around Christian families, so I've known many of these kids. They act like a stereotypical Christian kid around the adults, but they show their real, shallow selves when the adults leave the room. But my question is, why try to live a double-life? To me, it seems like it'd be easier to live on one side of the fence or the other.

Honestly, I think the most common reason most people are fakers is because they don't really understand what Jesus did for them. I think they don't believe in Jesus or in God. They think that the Bible is a bunch of stuff people made up so some people could control the masses. Some people think, "Even if there is a God, He would never care about mankind. And even if He did care about humans, He wouldn't care about me." They scoff at the notion that you can have an intimate and personal relationship with God Almighty. And I know this for a fact. I know this because if they really believed in Jesus, in God, and in the Bible, their lives would be radically changed.

When you surrender your life to Christ, you change. You become a new person. The desires of the old you die off and you desire something entirely new: an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible says that when you commit your life to Christ, you find spiritual life for the first time. When you give your life up to Christ, it's like you are killing off the old self, and putting on the new. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

So when you truly believe in the crucifixion and in Jesus and in God, you will be radically changed. You will be made new in Christ. You are a new creation; the old has passed away, the new has come! Your selfish, sinful nature has been killed, and you have been taken over by the righteous and purifying Spirit of God. So why are there so many fakers? The truth is that they don't believe in God. They don't believe because if they did, they would be changed, made new in Christ. But they are still under the power of the sinful nature. The Bible says, "... if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." The problem with fakers is that they do only half of this. They confess to be Christians and thus fool many. But the reality of their hearts shows that they do not truly believe.

So they remain lost, fake, blind. Even though they profess Christ, they don't know Him. They don't change because they are blinded by ignorance and disbelief. The apostle Paul is a great example. He had a very high position amongst the Jews. He had a lot of power and was considered to be spiritually superior because of his resume. In Philippians 3:4b-6, Paul says, "If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless." All these things made Paul very high up among the religious leaders. He had all of the genealogical requirements to be a leading religious leader, and he had an intense zeal and passion for the Jewish religion. He loved it so much that he killed the Christians for supposedly blaspheming the God of the Jews. His passion, commitment, and righteousness were extreme.

But the problem was that Paul was on the wrong side of the fight. The God he thought he was defending was actually on the Christians' side. The reality that Jesus showed to Paul (then named Saul) on the road to Damascus was that Paul was actually a fake. He wasn't actually serving God. In fact, Jesus went as far as to say that Paul was persecuting God personally.

So what do we do about the fakers we know personally who are blinded by ignorance and unbelief? I think the answer is just to love them. In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells His disciples, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples. Isn't it interesting that the defining characteristic of Christians is that we will love each other as Christ loved us? I'd say that we spend more time judging, hating, stereotyping, fighting with, and excluding each other than we do loving each other. Maybe people pick up on this and that's why they choose to not truly believe in God. Maybe they see the disciples of Christ and how far from Christ they tend to act and decide that Christ Himself must not be all that great.

Show the fence-riders Who they are missing out on by showing them the love of Christ. Show them the love of God by loving them yourself. Love people the way Jesus loves you. Be patient with people. Be kind to people. Be filled with humilty. Show respect for everyone. Live selflessly, to benefit others. Be forgiving. Be honest. And be committed to people. Treat people how you want to be treated. Show them the Gospel by loving them.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Worth Dying For

When I logged into my Facebook account today, my newsfeed was full of Bible verses about the crucifixion. Today being Good Friday, it seems that almost everyone had something to say in honor of the ultimate sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ paid on this day two thousand years ago. I must admit that I love Easter. It is always a sobering event to remember the day that Jesus died for me. I even watched the Passion of the Christ a few days ago, and I admit that I wasn't able to control my emotions. There is something about the crucifixion that is so raw, so powerful, so humbling. It simply puts everything in perspective. It is a sobering reminder of why we are here, which is something we could always use.

Earlier today, I came across a verse that also reminded me of my purpose as a Christian. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." So this weekend, as we remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, remember too that you and I have been crucified. We are no longer living, but Christ lives in us. We are not our own. We were bought at a price- and a very high price at that. Remember that you also died. By choosing to surrender your life to Christ, you chose to pick up your cross daily, to repent of your sins, to live by the Spirit.

Romans 6:19b-23 says, "Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So this Easter weekend, remember the death of Jesus Christ. Remember the price He paid for you. Remember that He died so He could offer you the gift of eternal life. Remember that He died so He could have a personal and intimate relationship with you. Remember that He died for you. And remember that you are worth dying for.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Servant Romance: The Five Questions

How can you know what is right and wrong in a relationship/friendship with someone of the opposite sex? We've already said that you'll need wisdom in order to have that kind of discernment. But don't worry: I'm not going to leave you and make you figure it all out yourself.

I've come up with a system that should help you discern if something is appropriate or inappropriate. Whenever you're trying to decide if an action with or towards the opposite sex is right or wrong, ask yourself these five questions:

  • Does it respect him/her?
  • Will it make him/her feel valuable?
  • Does it esteem or honor him/her?
  • Is it modest?
  • Is it pure?
If you can confidently answer "Yes" to each of the five questions, then it's okay. If it passes the five questions, then it's okay to do it. Let's test it with some hypothetical scenarios and see whether or not it really works.

Let's say I wanted to know if it'd be okay for my girlfriend and I to have sex. This immediately fails the test. In fact, it doesn't pass a single question. God tells us to keep sex inside marriage, so sex outside of marriage is automatically a sin.

But let's say my girlfriend and I just wanted to make out, get a little handsy, and maybe even get naked. Does this pass? No way! Once again, it fails all five qualifiers. Even though you aren't having sexual intercourse, you're not showing respect, you aren't valuing, you aren't honoring, your intentions are sinful, and it's completely impure.

Now let's say that I just want to kiss my girlfriend goodnight. This one gets a little trickier, and you especially need to use your wisdom and discernment here. Many of my Christian friends- myself included- have committed to saving their first kiss for the the wedding altar. But I also know many more Christians who are fine with kissing before marriage. My thinking is that if I wouldn't kiss someone who isn't my wife when I'm married, why is it okay for me to kiss someone who isn't my wife before I'm married? I also know that kissing awakens a desire to do more (a.k.a., have sex), and I don't want to have to deal with that temptation any more than I have to. And I believe that to save my first kiss for marriage would honor my wife more than anything else I could do. So is it wrong to kiss before marriage? I think it is. I think if you are serious about sexual purity, honor, and respect, you would wait. To me, not waiting says that you aren't taking it as seriously as you should or that your intentions aren't right in the first place.

Let's step away from the sex side of things and look at hugs. Are hugs okay? If done with the right intentions, I think so. I can't see how a hug could be disrespectful, or dishonoring, or impure, or anything like that. And what about side hugs? I typically use side hugs only for a girl I don't know that well. If I know the girl, I give full hugs. Now yes, some people are huggers, and some aren't. And that's okay. If you aren't comfortable with it, don't do it. But please don't judge others for holding different convictions than you on this one.

I'm sure you can see that these five questions can be applied to any situation and will still produce a wise and correct answer. Whether you want to know about holding hands, kissing on the cheek, sitting close to each other, snuggling, or any other question you have, it will give you an answer you can trust. Just remember to answer each question honestly, and without bias.

The guiding principles of servant romance are respect, value, honor, modesty, and purity, and the overarching theme is to treat others in the way you want to be treated. Follow the principles of servant romance and your friendships will blossom and thrive, and you will have less heartache and less difficulty when it comes to romantic relationships. Become a servant leader in romance and in friendships.

1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Purity: God's Standards on Sex

When it comes to purity, some people get pretty uncomfortable. It seems that in church, sex is a four letter word. It's kind of awkward to talk about, so we often avoid it altogether. Instead of enduring the awkwardness and facing our fears, we sweep this topic under the rug. But it's such an important conversation to have. The Bible says some very strong things about sexual purity, and they are not to be ignored. And since we are in a series talking about romance and relationships, purity is very relevant and germane to servant romance.

So why is purity important? It is important first and foremost because it is important to God. Ephesians 5:3, 5 says, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people... For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." It seems to me that this passage is saying that sexual purity and salvation are directly related. Sexual impurity is improper for God's holy people. And why is that? Because immoral and impure people have no place in heaven. It's obvious, then, that God has very specific and detailed expectations about the sexual purity of His people. So what are they?

Very simply, God says to keep all-things-sex within marriage. If you do that, you won't have any problems. In fact, when married couples have sex, God says that it is good. In Genesis 1, the very first chapter of the Bible, God tells mankind, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." He created us to have sex. He gave us the desire. He could have made reproduction as boring and uneventful as sneezing. He could have even made us asexual! But He didn't. Instead, He made intercourse to be wonderful and passionate, the way a husband and wife show their love and become one. God loves us so much that He went out of His way to make reproduction very pleasurable.

But He didn't create sex to be experienced outside of a marriage bond. It is when a sexual act happens outside of marriage that it becomes a sin, and thus a problem. There's no other way around it. Any sexual activity outside of marriage is against God's will and it is wrong. So what hope do we have if we have messed up in the past? The truth is that no one is perfect. We have all been sexually immoral before, whether it was in thought or action. The good news for us is that God is a God of forgiveness, and when we become Christians, followers of Jesus and children of God, we are made new in Christ. The old has died, and you are a new creation.

Colossians 3:2-5 says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." This is saying that when you decided to give your life to God, you died. The old you, in all your sin and guilt, died. Your life is now in Christ. And now that you are a child of the Living God, you are a brand new creation. You have new life and are a new person. You are no longer a slave to sin. Because of the Spirit that lives in you, you now have the power to say "no" to sin. Because of the power of His Spirit, you can put to death the things that belong to your earthly nature, things such as sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. You don't have to live that lifestyle anymore. You have the power through God's Spirit to walk away from it. It doesn't matter how deep you are into sin. God's love and forgiveness are bigger than your sin. You may still have to deal with earthly consequences to your actions, but God forgives you when you repent.

Now before we close, there's one last thing we want to know: What do we have to do to become pure? I will answer with Proverb 4:23-27: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil." Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Keep your heart pure, and your intentions and thoughts will be pure. Put away perversity from your mouth and keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Keep your mouth and conversations clean and you will avoid many temptations and be on the path of purity. Let your eyes look straight ahead and fix your gaze directly before you. If you keep your eyes fixed on what is most important, you won't waste your time looking at things you have no business viewing. And finally, don't swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil. Stay on the path of purity and don't wander off of it.

"He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall," Proverbs 28:18.