Watching sports is a hobby of mine.
One of my favorite players to watch in past years, was A.C. Green, who played basketball with the Los Angeles Lakers.
What made A.C. Green unique was that he lived a life of abstinence and purity his entire time in the NBA.
A. C. Green's faith and moral stand has been no secret to his teammates.
"They respected me and were curious about how I [remain abstinent]. They asked me privately or threw questions at me in the locker room."
In Sports Illustrated, columnist Rick Reilly dubbed Green "The NBA Player Who Has Never Scored." Green admits that he's not immune from sexual temptation. But he maintains his integrity with the help of friends in Champions for Christ and others who keep him accountable and focused on his godly commitment.
"They keep me in line so much that I'm sure there have been temptations waiting around the corner that thankfully I've never known about."
As Green told Reilly, "I promised God this, and I'm not going to break it. I love myself and my future wife too much to just waste it."
His actions don't go unnoticed. One season a teammate by the name of Anthony Mason, who had off-court troubles, began to pay attention to Green's spiritual leadership more. In the Miami Herald last January, Mason said, "You would think of Green as a goody-two-shoes, but to see [his convictions] up close, you realize that's the way you're supposed to live."
Green has had the thrill of leading a teammate to Christ, but more often he has helped them work through specific issues in their lives. And, even in retirement, he’s always available to pray.
There is power in personal purity.
Paul writes to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:22, “Keep yourself pure.”
“Keep yourself.” In other words, it is something that I do. I am to keep myself pure. I am to keep myself clean, uncontaminated, without corruption in the messy world we live in.
What is a pure heart? Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “It is a condition whereby a man’s heart is not ruled by his conscience, but by the revealed will of God.”
I agree with that. For your conscience and my conscience can fall into the trap of cultural and environmental conditions. I’ve heard some say, “I don’t feel it’s wrong. I have a peace about it. My conscience is clear on the matter.” All of that shows the fickle and unreliable qualities of the conscience when left to itself.
The Psalms writes, “How can a young man keep his ways pure?” And then he gives the answer, “by guarding it according to your word.”
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” To “see” God is to “know God.” To “know” God is to be pure before Him.
Do you desire to know God? I do. Jesus says, “Be pure.” “Paul writes, “Keep yourself pure.”
How can you do that this day?
Confess your sin the day it happens. Don’t wait. Come before God immediately with a heart of repentance.
Confess your sin with a contrite heart. Someone once said, “The plant of purity is always watered with tears of repentance.”
Do everything within your power to live a godly life today.
Stay away from tempting places and people.
Let the Holy Spirit work in you.
You can keep yourself pure today!
Devotional Prayer: Father, I desire to be pure this day. Guard my mind, my heart and my spirit from the temptations of the enemy. Help me to be pure before you. Amen.