I'm a recovering puritan. For about six months a decade ago or more, God would ask me if I was a Puritan. I didn't know how to answer and got frustrated when asked. Based on my limited knowledge of the Puritans, I came to an answer and said yes. I want purity as well. God said in my heart, "At least now you know." I didn't understand what God was saying to me at the time.

I have a cultural understanding of the sixteenth and seventeenth-century Puritans and not a complete historian view. The Puritans are best known for being the sect of pilgrims that sought purity in all things, even to the point of seeing a demon behind every rock, hence the Salem witch trials. Puritans, in its name, suggest purity. The Puritans even banned Christmas here in the United States for many years because it was filled with impurities.

The Puritans were a godly people but maybe also a miserable people because life was so impure it was impossible to live pure for Christ. Reform was always on their mind. And when reform wasn't creating the society they wanted, they took their bat, ball, and glove and separated, extinguishing their light in the world.

Puritans then and now see life as black and white. And I think so, too, with the thought that sin is sin and righteousness is righteousness, but it goes gray regarding the thoughts and motives of the heart and mind. It gets complicated living in a fallen world. What is to be kept and protected, and what needs to be cut off?

Paul writes in Titus chapter 1 telling us to stay away from fables, myths, traditions, superstitions, and such, as they tend to lead people to reject the truth. All things are pure to the pure, but to the impure, all things are impure. Much of life has to do with the heart and getting God's perspective through renewing the mind with the word of God and not falling into conforming to the world's philosophies.

Knowing Christ is knowing the heart of our heavenly Father and not a list of to-dos and not to-do's. If we live by a list of good and evil, then we are eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and not from the Tree of Life. One tree brings abundant life. The other tree brings death, theft, and destruction.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes that every good and perfect gift is from above from the Father of light. But we know through the word of God that we see in the dark. The perfect gift from above has gotten moldy in a fallen world. So, do we throw out gifts like the baby with the bath water? Or do we cut off the mold and eat the cheese?

But how do we know mold from cheese if we follow a list of rules? The difference is found in the milk drinkers and meat eaters of Christ. Hebrews 5:12-14 states that infants can't handle solid food and thus cannot discern between good and evil. The best 'milk only' Christians can do is try it to find out. If it is good, swallow; if it is terrible, spit it out. Trial and error are the worst way to discover the truth, as your trial may end early and unexpectedly. But those who eat meat can discern what is good and evil through the training of righteousness without the snags of the trial-and-error method. Those skilled in the word of God know what part of the cheese to cut off and which part is good from above to eat.

God has given us all things to enjoy. Every part of society is a gift from God but moldy in its current state. When God created the world, he did so in seven days. After each day he created, he proclaimed it was good. On the seventh day, he rested and called it holy. Puritans are black and white Christians who often miss what happened in the first three chapters of Genesis.

God created six good days and one holy day. Holy means set apart. There was nothing evil, less than, or wrong about the other six days; they were called good by the maker of the heavens and the earth. God created the common days and the holy day. But when Genesis chapter three plays out, all creation falls into disarray, corrupting everything God created for good, common, and holy. Since that day, we have the holy and the common that God created and the profane that Satan, Adam, and sin created.

If we are going to be mature children of God led by his spirit and not a list of dos and don'ts, then we must understand the difference between the common, the holy, and the profane.

Be holy, for I am holy is the calling from God. But does that mean we must expand our list of wrongs and rights to become holy? The Puritans certainly did this, as many do today. We are to be in this world and not of it, but yet the ultra-holy want to eliminate the common because they don't know how to cut off the profane.

God is not contradictory when he says to come out from them and then, in the same breath, to go into all the world and make disciples. One group of Christians want to go the way of the Puritans and create their communities, leaving the world to find the light of truth on their own. Another group wants to integrate into the world, hiding their light on the six common days but claiming their holiness by church attendance on the holy day of the week.

But those who are mature and can separate the holy, common, and profane know how to be light in a dark world. Maturing disciples of Christ are not trying to become more holy by external or internal laws but by learning how to divide the holy, the common, and the profane rightly.

Living the common life doesn't make one unholy. The profane is what corrupts both the common and holy. So how does one become holy yet common and not profane?

We learn to discern between the three through the teaching and practice of righteousness. We will use the litmus test in Philippians 4:8. We can partake in anything on this list. For example, I can listen to a secular musician's good songs while cutting out the songs that do not uphold good thoughts. I receive the common with thanks toward God and cut off the profane.

Another example, I don't look at the rating of a movie to see if I can go; I look at the movie's premise. If the premises are suitable, maybe I will watch. Perhaps because it also depends on how much mold is on the cheese. If the movie has a good premise but leads me away from 'whatsoever is…,' I throw the whole thing out.

Christians once compelled me to watch the movie series 'The Matrix' because of all its religious symbolism. After singing a new song unto the Lord about not using His name as a curse word, I bought the series. After watching forty-five minutes of the first Matrix, I knew I had eaten some mold that was making me sick. I can't and won't watch a movie that uses the names of Jesus and our heavenly Father as expletives. I spit it out. Eve offered me a forbidden fruit, and I didn't allow righteous discernment to keep me from biting. The Tree of Life warned me in a prophetic song, but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was more enticing.

We need to know when to cut off the mold and eat the cheese, but sometimes the mold has taken over, and the cheese does need to be thrown out. Rules and law aren't much help in this condition; we will either starve because we have mislabeled the common or get sick because we ate the profane.

Who in Christ doesn't want purity? What are we to do in a world of impurity? Even the church is mixed with worldly appetites. The only thing in this world that is pure is not a thing but a person, the Holy Spirit. Everything else has mold on it. So how do we live?

A little leaven spoils the whole lump. Yes, it does, so cut it out before it does. One bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Yes, it does if you don't do something about it. The little foxes ruin the vine, then keep the foxes out of the vineyard. Separate the holy and the common and cut off the profane.

One of the favorite stories of today's Puritans is the story entitled, 'A Brownie Surprise.' It has several versions, but basically, a parent bakes some brownies with a bit of poop from the family's dog. The children want to watch a movie that the parents disapprove of. When the children insist that the movie isn't that bad, the parents present the freshly baked brownies with the surprise of an additional ingredient. The children reject the brownie and give up their claim to watch the movie.

The story sounds like wisdom from above but is full of wisdom from below. What in this world doesn't have impurities? We eat things that have an acceptable limit of the inedible all the time. If we try to limit all impurities in an impure world, the church must be thrown out as well because we can be worse than the world at times. Jesus said, "They strain out the gnats but swallow the camel!" I concur that the blind guides carefully pick away at the world but don't want us to question the Kool-Aid they serve us in Christian circles. Please question the Kool-Aid with a daily diet of praying, reading the bible, and being a doer.

To the pure, all things are pure. To the impure, all things are impure. God is about the intent of the heart. Clean the inside, and the outside will be clean as well. A discerning Christian knows when to eat and go hungry because the impurities are too much. The mature Christian knows what is holy, what is common, and what is profane without checking a list. The disciplined follower of Christ sees the purity of what God calls common even when mold has grown on it.

All good things belong to God: the arts, business, education, the sciences, etc. He created them for our enjoyment. The God who gave His only begotten Son to take away the world's sins will one day make this world pure again. Until then, we must know when to cut off the mold and eat the cheese.

Post Rating

Follow & Connect

Follow us n FaceBookFollow us on TwitterWatch us YouTubeInstagramPatreonEmail Us