1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV)
I probably should have included verse 1 with the previous blog. The promises Paul is referring to are all about God dwelling with us. Paul believes with all his heart that the best way to impact the world around us is to grow closer and closer to God. We accomplish this as we continually seek purity in every decision we make. For the Corinthian Christians that probably impacted their decisions on where to go and where to spend time. Our challenge is more constant as we can pursue virtual destinations in an instant from the comfort of our recliner.
Imagine that you are a pure glass of water. How much motor oil would I have to pour into your glass to make you impure? How much to make you undrinkable? Once the motor oil is in the water in your glass how do I get rid of it? The problem with motor oil is that it will stick to the side of the glass. Simply pouring water into the glass will not remove it. The only way to remove it is to pour soap into the water and vigorously stir it. At this point the water is not drinkable, but it is on the way to becoming pure and clean again.
Paul recognizes that we are already contaminated. A good choice is to stop adding contaminants to bodies and spirits. A better choice is to actively work with the Holy Spirit to scrub out the contaminants while not adding any more.
Our lives are so fast paced and stressful that we all feel a need to take a break and be entertained. Our entertainment options are unlimited and spread across a spectrum from genuinely contaminating to actively purifying. I think we too often ask ourselves if an entertainment choice has few enough contaminants that it can be taken in without causing a long-term infection. If we do not do that, we put the choice on a scale and weigh the negative content against the positive content.
We all have different ratios of negative to positive that we use to evaluate the choice. Paul is calling us to actively search out choices where the negative content is zero. I would encourage all of us to do the work of searching out positive options. In the world we live in I think it is especially dangerous to be unintentional about our entertainment intake. Most of us are very particular about the water we drink. Why are we not nearly so particular about the media we consume?
For a clearer and more visual illustration look at this video object lesson on YouTube. It is very much like the one I was years ago that triggered my thoughts on this verse.