“Pure as Honey”

[Today's LifeText] “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure ("sincere" NKJV) and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.’” (Philippians 1:9-10 NLT)
From today’s life text, we see the Apostle Paul encouraging believers to live “sincere lives” until the day when Christ returns. The word ‘sincere’ comes from two Latin words, sine ('without') and cere ('wax') “i.e. without the presence of any wax.” This definition goes back to the ancient practice of beekeeping. When one was looking to buy a jar of honey, they would often search for “pure honey” which was written on the label. Honey was considered pure only if all of the beeswax had been removed. Some vendors actually referred to and sold their strained (pure) honey as “sincere honey.” Another illustration of sincerity was similarly seen with pottery. Not unlike our modern day crooks and dishonest businessmen, many corrupt pottery vendors in ancient times would take broken and/or imperfect pottery that had cracks, gaps, holes or some other defect and fill the deformities with melted wax. After skillfully painting the pottery they would sell it as “genuine” pottery without flaws to unsuspecting customers (i.e. sold under the guise of deception). An honest merchant – when presenting his product to a prospective buyer - might say that it was a “sincere piece of pottery.” This meant that the pottery had no flaws – that it was free from wax and that what they saw was what it truly was – a solid piece of handcrafted pottery free of any blemishes or imperfections.
So how was the deceptive use of wax with pottery or the presence of wax in honey discovered? The Apostle Paul in Verse 10a in our life text helps answer that question - his desire was “…that (we / believers) may approve the things that are excellent.” (NKJV) The English word “approve” here comes from a Greek word that means “to judge or test for genuineness (i.e. sincerity / purity) by sunlight or to examine by the rays of the sun." To determine if honey was pure (sincere), one would simply hold it up against the sunlight to examine closely for any wax / impurities. The same practice was also used to detect the deceptive use of wax in hiding flaws / imperfections in pottery.
In today’s life text, the Apostle Paul’s prayer is that God’s people would live lives that are sincere - that is, lives that are genuine, true / authentic, transparent (not hypocritical) and purified from the particulates of sin (e.g. spiritual impurities/ false appearances or deceptive motives). Sadly, sincere hearts seem to be rapidly becoming a rare find in today’s culture. For many, their so-called sincerity is based upon conditional demands or self-driven wants/desires which often parallel the world’s set of values, not God’s. God desires that as genuine Christians, we are to come before Him with sincere (pure) hearts - “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22 NLT) This involves our being fully honest before God, coming to Him without masks (“falsehood / deceptionEphesians 4:25) – in sincerity (pureness) of heart (Psalms 24:3-4, Matthew 5:8). Our weaknesses (i.e cracks / gaps in our character) can only be exposed when we submit ourselves to the true light of Christ. Ephesians 5:13 declares, “The light makes all things easy to see…” (NCV) As sincere Christians, we must allow God each day to judge the conduct of our heart, of our thoughts, of our deepest desires and of our actions through the divine illumination of His Holy Word. That is why it is so critically important that we spend time daily in God’s Word – allowing the living waters to cleanse us (Ephesians 4:26) from the sin (i.e. spiritual wax) that covers our soul (Psalms 119:105, 1 John 1:9).
So let us commit anew to the Apostle Paul’s command to “live pure (sincere) lives” - starting today and every day that follows until the divine moment that our Lord returns. May we each allow the light of God’s Word to penetrate the recesses of our heart in search for any sinful flaws / cracks / impurities in our character (Psalms 139:23-24) so that we can be molded into His divine vessels which are filled with His love and used for His glory. 2 Timothy 2:21 (NLT) declares, “If you keep yourself pure (sincere), you will be a special utensil (vessel NKJV) for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” May we each take heed to the divine wisdom shared in Joshua 24:14 which commands every believer “to fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity (with pureness of heart and motives) and in truth.” Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video is a beautiful testament to Lord's promised return. The song is by CCM artists Casting Crowns and can be viewed by clicking on its title, “Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me).”

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