What does having a pure heart mean to you?
By Bill Holland
Many are familiar with the beatitudes which are a section of a larger discourse spoken by Jesus in His earthly ministry. They are found in His sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 5, and some of them are mentioned again in the sermon on the plain found in the twentieth chapter of Luke. Both homilies are filled with spiritual wisdom and laid the groundwork for New Testament Christianity. There are also beatitudes found in the Psalms, and all of these truths are timeless and just as life-changing and relevant today as they were when they were spoken. The Greek word for “beatitude” simply means blessed, fortunate, and content, and presented in the context of living each moment with a relentless determination for having a clear understanding of right and wrong and demonstrating boldness to accomplish God’s purpose no matter the cost.
When you think about the condition and direction of your life today, do you see consider yourself being this type of Christian? It’s easy to read over these precepts while yawning, but they were never meant to be options or suggestions. You might have heard the old saying that beatitude is short for “be-in-this-attitude” and this is a good way to make them more personal. When we take the time to meditate on the deeper meanings, we realize they are pillars in the foundation of our faith and our relationship with God and humanity. Today I want to focus on one of these statements found in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Within the context of the next two chapters, Jesus is basically teaching us what being His follower is about. Christ is clear about the importance of being holy and pure in our conscience, but how do we develop this attitude and retain it?
As we ponder about the state of being pure, we also notice Jesus mentions the word heart. What do you think of when you hear something like, “well, bless your heart”, “she broke his heart” or “he loved her with all of his heart?” Some say it is the conscience, the emotions, the intellect, and our will, others believe it is the deepest recess of the soul. Whatever, or wherever it is, it is the most sacred place of our existence and the very location that God wants us to surrender to Him so that He can dwell there. Daniel 1:8 talks about how Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with sin. In this light, we see that it is our responsibility to guard and protect our inner sanctuary from the darkness and corruption of carnality.
The first several chapters of Proverbs explain that we are to store the treasures of God’s word in our hearts and the authority of His truth will produce joy and peace. “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear to my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” Proverbs 4:20-23. This is about staying focused and being consistent which by the way is one of the most difficult aspects of the Christian life. A pure heart is not divided and as James 1:6-8 reminds us, a double-minded person does not receive help from the Lord. A pure heart for God walks with integrity, repents often, and does not fear what the world thinks of them. A pure heart embraces humility, comprehends and embraces our identity in Christ, and makes a covenant vow to surrender our will in order that we might accomplish His.
It’s a beautiful thing to be close enough to God to feel conviction from the Holy Spirit. This is His way of getting our attention when He wants to correct or give us special instructions. Hebrews 10:22 talks about drawing near to God with a true heart in the full assurance of faith, and having our hearts purified from an evil conscience. Living in God’s presence and being pure in heart does not happen by accident. We see what we are trained to see. May we be awakened and allow the refiner to have His way. Let us be consumed with a passion to be holy, knowing those who are pure in heart will see God.
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