Pure in Heart
Okay, back to our walk through the Beatitudes. Last time we saw that as we share the mercy that God shows us with others, we will then be shown mercy. And as God pours out His mercy upon us and wipes away the guilt of our sins, our hearts are purified of all unrighteousness.
“Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Our God is spirit and can be known only by spirit. He is a God who indwells us, yes, but He also dwells on the Holy Hill and only a pure and upright spirit can climb that Holy Hill.
“Who shall go up into the hill of Jehovah? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, and has not sworn deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:3-4)
And even though God, through Jesus Christ, has removed the guilt of our sin, our hearts are still full of sinful attitudes and ways. If we remain in spiritual infancy, our focus will continue to be on ourselves rather than an increasing vision of a holy God.
So, we need our hearts to be continually purified of our sinful thoughts and attitudes if we are to know our God on an ever-deepening and intimate level. If the purification process stops, the level of our relationship with God will at the very least be halted, and at the most regress. There are (at least) two ways that this continual purification process occurs.
1. God purifies our hearts through trials.
Just like the refining process for gold, God uses heat in our lives to melt our hearts, then the dross of selfishness and pride and fear, and on and on, rises to the surface, Jesus removes it from our hearts as we repent of it, and the process starts all over again.
So that’s why we’re not to be surprised at the trials facing us. Every believer faces trials and if we remember that their purpose is to be a purifier for our hearts and allow God to do that work in our lives, we will begin to see purpose in them. Our attitudes will be more humble throughout the trials and we will have our eyes open to what God is trying to say to us about what ungodly attitude or trait He is trying to purify from us and we will more quickly repent of those sins.
2. We need to keep our minds out of the gutter.
A dirty mind makes for a dirty heart. Though Jesus Christ imparts to us mercy and cleanses our hearts of unrighteousness when we bow before Him, and God continues to cleanse our hearts through trials, we are responsible to keep our minds from entering into that which would sully them. It is cheap grace, indeed, when a person continues in sin with the twisted thought that, “God has to forgive me.”
“..neither be partaker of the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.” (1 John 5:22)
I have never in my life been so keenly aware of the infiltration of sexual images and sexual discussion into just about every place I turn as I have been lately. Something that was meant to be a personal and intimate form of love between two married people, a man and a woman, by the way, has been exploited in every way possible. It takes a concerted effort to not allow our minds to dwell on these images or get pulled into an irreverent discussion on t.v. or even the “news” about who did what to whom.
When we allow our minds to wander in those areas, or any area that is not glorifying to God, we are living by our flesh and not by our spirit and our vision of God becomes cloudy. But when we walk by the spirit and live in obedience to our God, our spiritual vision begins to clear and we are able to see God in a way we never had before.
In our verse in Matthew 5:8, the word “see” does not refer to a casual glancing or even an observation, but rather to gaze at with wide open eyes, as at something remarkable.
When our hearts our pure we will see a pure God with a jaw-dropping, eye-popping awe that is meant only for Him. His love will so encapsulate us that we will not be able to take our eyes off Him. We will know Him as a loving, dependent child knows a protective parent; as a bride looks upon her bridegroom with adoration and expectation. We will begin to know His voice, even the slightest whisper. His ways will become familiar to us and they will become our ways as we walk with Him day and night.
So, the question is, how well do you want to see and know God? Do you want to know Him so well that you feel as if you drew your arm up beside you you would touch Him? Do you want to hear Him whisper promises and even give you visions for the life He has in store for you? Do you want to be able to trust Him with your very breath no matter what happens?
The extent to which you answered “yes” is the extent to which you will embrace your trials and sufferings as a means to that end. And compromise will never enter your mind, but only thoughts of “things that are true, honest, right, pure, lovely, of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things.” (from Philippians 4:8)