By Andy Smith
Take unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh…
The King James Version identifies the myrrh as pure. My friend, purity is not, never was, nor will it ever be, an optional feature. This is not a sports car or luxury sedan we’re talking about! There is no options package in the anointing. We don’t get to keep the color and charge the tire size or skip the floor mats in lieu of the gold trim package. Of the principal spices listed, the principal spice was commanded to be pure. In the plan of God, there is no acceptable option.
Without purity, the other three ingredients will be fouled and tainted. We must understand that even though the most refreshing water, when poured through a rusty strainer, becomes polluted. This is just the way it is. The application of this is tremendous for the person who understands and recognizes the need for and the operation of the Holy Spirit in these last days.
We need the power of the Holy Spirit to change our world, but even the power of the Almighty can be virtually sabotaged if our impurities are in the way. The Living Water that flows form our person (John 4:10, 7:38) is the Holy Spirit and this Spirit of God is as pure as it gets. My warning shot over your bow is to take heed that even the Spirit of God will appear fouled and polluted if we, as the vessels, are polluted by impurity! We are the literal vessels through which the Spirit operates. His Spirit changes us by flowing into us and He changes other by flowing out of us. With this concept as the premise, let me draw you a word picture. Imagine that a wire screen covers the perimeter of your chest. It is almost like an exoskeleton or a second skin that surrounds your torso. Everything that enters into your “heart” passes through this screen. Likewise, everything that comes out of your “heart” passes through the same wire mesh. If you are a man that is walking with Chris and involved in His work, the paramount question is not about whether the Holy Spirit will flow in and out of your vessel. The paramount question and ultimate concern is “what is the condition of my screen?” Is it glistening and clean or is it spotted and rusty? In the final analysis, the condition of the screen determines the perceived purity of what we receive and the projected purity of what we give. The Holy Spirit, as I stated earlier, is pure and wholesome. That is not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that our “screens” can become rusty and these impurities will be passed on in our witnessing, our family relationships, and our ministry. In other words, the operation of the Holy Spirit that flows from us will be bitter to the taste and difficult for others to swallow. We, not the unchurched, will be the hindrance to the operation of God. We will stain and leave an unholy residue on the lives of the men and women we touch. Likewise, the Spirit’s voice will speak to our human spirit and, being interpreted through our fouled screen, will likely agitate and aggravate us. The move of the Spirit that should refresh our souls will leave us with a bitter aftertaste and we will not experience the refreshing that He intended. In both scenarios, our tendency would be to blame the Product when the problem is in the vessel. We will get mad at God when the problem is in us. We lack purity and that taints all that we say or do. This realization should make us want to pause and pray. In fact, when you feel prompted to pray or repent while reading this book or any other, please respond to the voice of our Savior. He is trying to save us; He is trying to save the people we touch. Mark your page and pray (the book will be here when you and God are done) and we’ll all be glad you did!
I have often appreciated the potency of the following example. If a man has Limburger cheese wiped under his nose, what will be the effect of this situation upon his day? He will sniff the sweetest of roses, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He will inhale the freshest of breezes, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He will order the savory of meats, but will only smell Limburger cheese. He can brush his teeth and have minty-fresh breath, but during our conversation we will only smell Limburger cheese. Get the picture? So I will ask again, what will be the effect of this situation upon his day? How will this circumstance affect his perspective and his outlook? He can blame everything else, but the source of the foul odor is under his nose. The flower was sweet, the air was fresh, and his breath was clean and fresh. Unfortunately these passed through a foul-smelling situation that completely dominated all the beauty and pleasure that they offered. I do not desire to come-off as melodramatic. I truly believe this is an accurate representation of the dynamics we experience when we compromise our purity. The fault is our own. Therefore, let us look at ourselves.
Holiness is not in our nature as men. When Paul revealed his desire to Timothy (I Timothy 2:8) that “men would pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting,” he was addressing fundamental deficiencies in us. Prayer does not come easy to us because we are socialized to be the hunter/provider. The “Shell-Answer-Man,” if you please. The very fact that we would pray is an admission of our inabilities to solve the situation or care for our families in our own strength. The call to lift up holy hands reveals our reticence toward a posture of submission and a lifestyle of purity. The admonition to eliminate wrath form our behaviors is challenging to the gender that basically knows only five emotions: mad, glad, sad, happy, and angry! The problem we have is that, for so many of us, anger is the mask that covers-up every other true emotion. When we’re really frustrated, we say we’re angry. When we’re really disappointed, we say we’re angry. When we’re really feeling vulnerable and powerless, we mask it with anger. These behaviors make it easy to understand why God would reach out to us through the pen of Paul and encourage us to address our inclinations toward wrath and anger. And finally, Paul calls out for us to trust. We play the role of Great Hunter, but most of us have faced great walls of insecurity throughout the course of our lives. We doubt. We are kin to Peter, who returned to fishing, and Thomas, who would only accept the tangible. We doubt – mostly ourselves. God calls us to give Him our doubts by casting all of our cares upon Him. We don’t have to have confidence in ourselves because we are not our answer anyway. He is.
All of that was said simply to reinforce the fact that God knows our weaknesses as men, the scriptures do not command us to watch football or work 50 hours a week in our professional pursuits. These are things we readily and more easily do. His commands and directives focus upon our liabilities and shortfalls. A priority among those divine directives is the call to purity and holiness.
It is the holiness of God that will cause us to become pure again. We must understand that righteousness and holiness are not the same things, nor are they attainted in the same way. Righteousness is placed upon us through faith. It is an immediate result of our faith in Christ. As Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness, so it with us today. Holiness, however, is a process in us. The great apostle, now writing to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:1), admonishes us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Holiness is not a one-time deal. The holiness of God is developed within us as He reveals Himself to us. He will reveal Himself and His ways to us as we spend time with Him. If you are having an issue with purity, spend quantities of time with your Holy Father and things will begin to change. Holiness will be perfected in you.
My mind goes to the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery…the very act, in fact. This was obviously a set-up and the men in the story cared nothing for the well-being of the woman. They were not driven by holy motives. Their rage was propelled by self-righteousness and self-promotion. It is a familiar passage in John 8, but I would like us to consider an alternative ending to the story. A dozen men stand with stones in their hands before a man they identify as “Master.” They have just thrown a trembling woman at his feet who lies there as stripped and vulnerable as she has ever been. We know that Jesus writes in the sand and presents the men with the directive that “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8:7). Here is where the application for us becomes rich. The scriptures tell us that each man walked away, from the oldest to the youngest. The woman, only, was left with Jesus. The question that I have is, “Why did they leave?” Jesus revealed their sin. They acknowledged their sin by the fact that they left. All they had to do to be free from the sinful condition that was just revealed in their hearts was to stay! They just needed to keep standing right where they were – in His presence! He forgave the woman. I believe that He was prepared to forgive her accusers as well. The outcome of the story could have changed for those men. The similarities are that the men and the woman were all active sinners. The similarities continue in that they all acknowledged their sinful state. The difference lies in the fact that the woman stayed and the men left. Thus, the woman was forgiven and the men retained their sin.
Brothers, our desire to purify ourselves can only be realized if we stay in His presence. The story of these individuals in John 8 shows us what can happen when the present of the Lord reveals sin in our hearts. Option one- we stay near the Lord and our sin leaves (the woman). Option two – we leave the presence of the Lord and keep our sin (the men). Option three – the Lord leaves (Sorry, not applicable to this, or any other, story!) Check out Luke 15 to reassure yourself of His never-ending love and commitment to your restoration in His family.)
Please choose Door #1 and stay in His presence. Make time to be with Him every day. Do not be deceived to hold onto your sin and the impurities of the flesh. Discipline yourself to spend time with God in worship and conversation. He will cleanse your screen. Peter tells us that we experience a washing of regeneration by the Word – so place yourself under Biblical preaching and personal study. Moses found that when God’s Spirit came into a place, it caused the most common of desert areas to immediately become holy ground – so place yourself in His holy presence through prayer and worship. If you are concerned about your follow through, submit yourself to an accountability partner or prayer partner. Truth be told, in order to remain purity they will need you as much as you need them. We all do.
The above article, “Pure Myrrh – Purity” is written by Andy Smith. The article was excerpted from the second chapter of Smith’s book The Scent of Anointing.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.
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