God, give me a pure heart! Matthew 5.8
It is nighttime and I am flying over the farmland of California, winging my way back home from Northern California, where I attended an event to honor the birth of my niece’s newborn baby girl, just two months old. Looking at her, complete innocence . . . lack of guilt; one could say, pure in heart. Hmmm . . . step a little closer please—not so sure.
You will remember that Jesus was becoming quite a sensation, teaching people about himself, his Father, and a new way—to repent and turn away from their sins. His teaching, the love he showed to all, his miraculous works caused people to follow after him. But on this particular afternoon, Jesus was giving an insiders’ talk, meant for those who had already made a commitment to follow in the dust of the Rabbi.
I can picture Jesus on that hillside—probably seated on a large rock or tree stump--looking out, raising his gaze over the crowds feeding on his every word . . . “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” It was the sixth such thing he had said, following ‘blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and the merciful…’ All of those are to be understood in some fashion before we can seek to understand what it means to be pure in heart. [previous briefings archived at www.pastorwoman.com -- check them out]
“Jesus, what does it mean to you for imperfect human beings to be pure in heart?” Pure means unadulterated, unaffected, uncontaminated . . . in essence, clean! But unlike the precious newborn, it involves an intellectual and moral choice. The pure in heart have no ulterior motives. Ah, motive. Motives are not always known by other people, but they are weighed by the Lord.1
purity of heart is to will one thing, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard quipped . . . what is that one thing? To be found righteous in you, God--to think your thoughts after you. Not cast about here and there—one moment in Jesus’ camp, the next a Taoist, and then on another day, just a good person. We should not be as a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed.2 No, purity of heart is to will one thing—to follow hard after the things of God, made available to us through Jesus.
Purify my heart, Lord Jesus. Cleanse me of all that is of me, and not of you. Sweep away motives that bring glory to me and not to you – you know, things that will make me look good, rather than you. Help me release people of my expectations of them, for I hold them prisoner in my heart. Quiet my mind of my fears of not meeting others’ expectations, remind me that I play to an audience of just One. Not to a board of directors, not to shareholders, not to an executive staff. No, I live for you, precious Lord, so quiet my heart. Help the eyes of my heart see only you.
>“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5.8. What does it mean to be pure in heart? It means to be singularly focused~ not perfect, not sinless, but sincerely following in the dust of the Rabbi, letting him call our cadence—not the latest thoughts trending, not the headline news demands, not even the expectations of our spouses, but God!
>Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy3
>Live in holiness and honor.4 and Peter repeated God’s words from the Old Testament,
>You must be holy, because I am holy.5
To be pure in heart is to will one thing: to be found in our Lord Jesus Christ, and him alone. And still, Friends, do not be mistaken--it is not a striving that God is after; it is not struggling to hit a benchmark of ‘just so much’ righteousness—no, God wants our hearts. When we love him and give ourselves to him, he works his holiness out in us.
Reminds me of a song ~ the theme song actually for my Women of Passion:
Give me one pure and holy passion, Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
to know and follow hard after Thee.
To know and follow hard after you,
to grow as your disciple in your truth . . .
This world is empty, pale and bored,
Compared to knowing you, my Lord,
To know and follow hard after you.5
“O God, give me a pure heart, I pray.”
1 - Proverbs 16.2
2 – James 1.6
3 - Ephesians 4.24
4 - 1 Thessalonians 4.4
5 - 1 Peter 1.16
6 – One Pure and Holy Passion, Candi Pearson … beautiful song