An “aha!” moment about purity

Could it be that it’s even less about me, and less about my efforts to become pure than I ever imagined?

In the past, I spent so much time hung up about doing, that in my worst moments of extreme distress and failure, I admitted to a few confidantes, “I don’t know how to do Christianity!” Years ago, I announced to my parents, “I’m just not cut out for Christianity.” It took decades for me to grasp my father’s reply, “But that’s the whole point.”

One of my favorite passages is this:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”‭‭ [1 John‬ ‭3:2-3‬ ‭NASB‬‬]

Silly me — I always interpreted that last verse as saying, “So if you have this hope, you need to purify yourself.” I rejoiced that, on that glorious day, seeing Jesus just as He is would purify me and transform me into His likeness. What a wonderful hope! But I missed the true connection with the next verse. Just as seeing Jesus will transform me, so will fixing my hope in Him. Bottom line: the more I focus on Jesus, the more like Him I become. That’s what that passage really means.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.