Purify Your Heart for Better Vision

24 May

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

Photo by Charles Huff

Photo by Charles Huff

Let’s get honest with one another. How many people do you think Jesus expected to see fulfill this Beatitude? After all, we are a what-you-see-is-what-you-get people Another way we put it: “It’s just the way I am. Take it or leave it.”

I’ve learned Jesus does not use words without meaning. He is not concerned with filling dead airtime in conversation. He included pure in heart with certain expectation for those who will be salt and light in His kingdom.

Radical separation

For most of us this trait of kingdom life requires a radical change greater than a changed heart—a new heart. And I’m not talking about the Christian-speak term referring to someone who has been born again. We go about waiving the promises of being new creatures and being clothed in righteousness because we were baptized. Meanwhile we continue to be short-tempered, selfish, greedy and covetous, or any other traits we had before claiming to be in Christ. I remember John the Baptist rebuking the religious leaders saying to bring fruits of repentance and that God was able to raise up children to Abraham from stones.

No hidden motives

As I tried to balance God’s promises with our daily reality, I knew I needed to get better insight on what Jesus might have meant when He used the term pure in heart. One encounter which relates to the topic came to mind. When Phillip brought his brother to meet Jesus the Messiah, Jesus spoke this of Nathanael, “Behold, an Israelite, indeed, in whom is no deceit!” (John 1:47) The Greek word for deceit is dolos meaning: wile, craft, trick (bait), deceit, guile, subtlety. Jesus’ comment suggests Nathanael says yes when he means yes and no when he means no. Anyone could count on his word. He wouldn’t try to wiggle out of a situation. Nathanael was the type of guy one could feel comfortable buying a used chariot from. He had no hidden motives. Nathanael serves as my example of a pure heart, and the absence of hidden motives is my simplest definition.

Perhaps you know someone like that. After all, some people have in their nature a higher level of heart purity than others. It’s a personality trait meant to touch the lives of others. In this Beatitude pure in heart becomes the nature of one allowing the Holy Spirit to do his work in his or her life. This work includes breaking the outer man, shaping viewpoints and attitudes, working humility, planting right desires and tenderness. We will find ourselves responding to situations differently than in the past—responses more in line with the Father’s heart. While some may have a head start in the process, all will develop a heart with greater purity as they work through the first five Beatitudes. Jesus’ exhortation points to the fruit of that process as well as a refining of its own and having its own reward: you will see God.

Behold Him

That may not sound like much of a reward in itself, but that will be our eternity. I remember reading a quote from a pastor who pitied those who do not develop a passionate love for being in God’s presence. He mused that heaven for eternity will be pretty boring for them. Mark Twain wrote in Letters from Earth depicting Satan sending letters to the angels still in heaven to tell them about men’s ideas of heaven and God. He says men think in heaven, “Every person is playing on a harp — those millions and millions! — whereas not more than twenty in the thousands of them could play an instrument in the earth, or ever wanted to.”

Do we make time with the Father a priority? Jesus did. Do we long to “see His face?” What evidence can we offer that shows our testimonies about God’s goodness and our love for Him are real? Certainly developing a pure heart must be in the equation.

Back to my opening question, I don’t know how many Jesus saw achieving this level of progress toward salt and light, but it must have been many. The writer of Hebrews said Jesus “for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). I believe Jesus saw his disciples following his example of a pure heart and spending eternity with them. Seeing eternity spent with those he loves filled Him with the joy that enabled him to endure.

Ours for the Taking…if…

Becoming pure in heart is not just possible; it’s going to happen. It has happened before. When we think of King David, we remember his many failures. He committed adultery. To cover his sin, he sent Bathsheba’s husband Uriah to the front of the fiercest fighting. He was guilty of murder as if he had killed Uriah himself. He failed as a father. He doesn’t fit the definition of no hidden motives. Yet, God pronounced that King David was a man after His own heart. As we read through the Psalms we find David’s greatest desire was to spend time in God’s presence. He quickly repented and purposed to do what was right in the situation. He took whatever steps were necessary to restore his relationship with his God. He understood the value of seeing God.

Whether or not we grow to have a pure heart depends on us yielding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Will we submit to and trust in our Lord completely.

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Purify Your Heart for Better Vision”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Special Recognition | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] to the Holy Spirit, hotly pursuing the Lord and his righteousness, showing mercy, developing a pure heart—a heart that can be trusted and without hidden motives, and lastly revealing the Father’s heart […]

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  2. America in Bible Prophesy | Boosterclub Blog -

    […] Christ’s demand for a church that mourns; Happiness in meekness; Happy Hot pursuit; Have Mercy!; Purify your heart for better vision; Special recognition; Jesus, our example—Part 1; Jesus, Our example—Part 2; Wax on/wax […]

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