How Christians can really achieve purity
Often we act under the assumption that the biggest problem man has is the quality of his actions. The problem, however, does not start with the actions. Actions are simply the symptoms of the real problem - the problem that all depraved and sinful humans have. And that is a heart that has been hardened by sin.
If we want to see transformation truly happen in our lives or in the lives of people we lead, we must look a radical change not in actions but in our hearts. Just like the psalmist David said Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
But the problem we have is that by our own strength and will we cannot change our hearts. It's virtually impossible to hardwire hearts to desire something else, and while we can redirect it temporarily or manipulate the evidence, we cannot change the root. That is something that only the Holy Spirit can do for us.
But the good news is that because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, we now have that Spirit-given power to experience change today. If we want to see change today, it must start with a change of heart. But just changing the heart into anything else is not the answer either. Our hearts must be radically transformed by being realigned with God's very heart beat.
Like the old hymn goes, "A pure heart- that's what I long for; a heart that follows hard after thee." A pure heart is one that follows God's very heartbeat. That's why only God can change our hearts and renew it - because it is His very heartbeat that He imputes into ours.
We all know that we are called to be Christ-like, but more than just being Christ-like in our actions, we are first to be Christ-like in our hearts- to carry the same compassion, humility and desire for the righteousness of God. God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and desires to see Christ in it because only then do we start seeing freedom from sin. When a heart is filled with Christ, it is most aligned with God's.
As a result, we start valuing the things that God values, and losing desire for the things that God disdains. We start valuing spiritual growth, reaching the lost, loving others, being compassionate to the unfortunate and so on. But this is rarely something that happens overnight. In many ways, in fact, we are still in that process of having our hearts purified by God more and more each day. The way He does that is by showing us His heart's desire and instilling that desire upon us as well.
Matthew 6:33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." "All these things" is sure to include the righteousness of God as well. It's not our righteousness but His, yet God generously adds it simply because we seek it.