The Challenge of Purity

Challenge Youth Conference

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Purity of Spirit

by Kyle Butt

The ancient city of Babylon was one of the most remarkable cities in the history of the world. A massive wall that rose over 30 stories circled the sprawling metropolis. This wall was, in some places, 75 feet wide, wide enough to drive three chariots side by side without them touching each other. The defenses of the city were so legendary that the consensus of the ancient world was that it was impregnable—it could not be taken.

One of the primary reasons for this general impression was the fact that the city had its very own running water supply. The mighty Euphrates River rolled powerfully into the city through an opening in the wall designed especially for that purpose. As long as the river flowed, which of course it always did, the opening was secure and the city could not be besieged by an enemy.

It did not hurt the city that a portion of the river was diverted around the walls so that it formed an ever-moving moat that surrounded the city. In truth, even if the river somehow miraculous stopped, the opening into the city was rather small and could have been guarded rather easily—if the guards had diligently kept their posts.

But what if the guards got lazy? What if that handful of military men decided to take a break? Or, as history informs us, what if they decided to join in a drunken festival with the rest of the city of Babylon and leave the river and its opening untended?

As it turned out, Cyrus, the general of the opposing army, devised a way to divert the Euphrates River away from the city wall, leaving the opening unprotected by the flowing water. Still, Cyrus’ plan would be difficult to accomplish if the Babylonian guards were keen at their posts and ready to sound the alarm. But alas, they were not. In fact, the guards had taken leave of their posts, and Cyrus’ men entered the city almost unopposed.

Once the enemy had penetrated the wall, however, they did not loudly proclaim their entrance with trumpets and victorious shouting. On the contrary, they pretended to be drunken Babylonian revelers, enabling them to pour into the city in vast numbers. By the time the Babylonians knew what had hit them, the city was taken from the inside, not the outside.

When we look into the Proverbs, we find a statement that reminds us of the Babylonians’ failure. In 4:23 we read: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Solomon, the wisest man in the world at the time, is reminding us that once something gets inside our “hearts” (what we would call our minds or spirit), it is often too late to stop its damage. The time to be diligent and defend our hearts and minds is before the enemy gets in.

It is for this reason that we must always be on alert about what we let into our minds, and how we let our minds think. "What kind of movies, television shows, video games or music are we listening to"?

Are there “hidden enemies” in the things we let into our hearts that can destroy us from the inside? What we let in our minds is not a trivial matter, because it is out of our minds that the “issues of life” flow forth. Stay awake, guard your post, and protect the precious spirit that God has given you.

About Kyle Butt

Kyle is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University, where he earned a B.A. with a double major in Bible and Communications, and an M.A. in New Testament.

Currently, he serves in the Bible Department at Apologetics Press and as editor of Discovery magazine.

He speaks frequently around the country at youth events, lectureships, Gospel meetings, and debates with well-known atheists.