Posted in Learning from His Word, Living out our faith

How pure is your heart?

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” Matthew 5:8.

So far we have read five of the nine “Blessed” statements Jesus presented at the very beginning of his first public teaching.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
 Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.”  (Matthew 5:3-7

Note how each of these speaks of a part of our inner character followed by the positive results we receive when we are open to a molding process which will develop these qualities within us.   Notice also how the first statement focuses our work almost solely on our own selves.  There is not outward reach involved.  In the third we begin to see our character changes affecting the world and people around us. The work of God within us will begin to make a difference outside of us as well.   The impact of our “Blessedness” increasingly affects the world as we grow into and onward from one Beatitude (“Blessed are..” statement) to the next.  This process of moving our focus from loving God, to loving ourselves, and then on to loving others.  In the process we continue to be blessed internally because that is just what the love of God does within our souls and spirits.

Amazingly, we once again see how all the teachings of Jesus fit together into the laws given to Moses by God during the Israelite journey from Egypt to the promised land (what we know now as Israel). This is what Jesus meant by “All the Law” when he answered the religious leaders of his day when they asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)

To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind fulfills the first four commandments, and to love our neighbor as ourselves fulfills the last six.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” Matthew 5:8.

This declaration by Jesus gets to the real motive behind our interactions with others whether by word or deed.  As we are moving from loving ourselves to loving others, Jesus cautions us to watch  our motives.  They must be pure, unmixed, and unsullied.

This is only possible once we have truly become humble and meek (see previous posts).  Once we have our eyes off of ourselves, and are looking at others through God’s eyes, only then might we speak and act with our motives pure, without any ulterior motive, without any need for a thank you, without any need for self-approval, or without a need for the approval of others.  Is our service to and for others something we do for Christ or for our own prestige?  Is our prayer and Bible reading time done to spend time with God, to grow closer to Him, to listen to Him, or is it read_7203cdone a duty, to build ourselves up, or as an example for others, “look at me!”?  To quote William Barclay once again, “Is our religion a thing in which we are conscious of nothing so much as the need of God within our hearts, or a thing in which we have comfortable thoughts of our own piety?”

Can we measure up?  Based on where one is in their spiritual maturity, there can be a growing number of moments when our heart is pure, but we can claim only moments of pureness, not a lifetime.

“Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’”?  (Proverbs 20:9)

This is a tough one.  Stop and consider your own life.   And yet Jesus makes it even tougher when he says only those pure in heart will see GodOuch!

Thank you God for not leaving us in a state of hopelessness.  It is important to understand that the purity Jesus is speaking of here would be impossible without the grace of God. It is through Jesus that God’s grace cleans our impure hearts through which we can see God.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10.

God bless you as you continue to seek Him and follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Author:

I love to think about God and the amazing love he has poured out on his people. I love to spend time with God and with God's word. God has proven faithful to his promises throughout history, and in my life. I long to serve him out of my gratitude and thankfulness. Most Holy God, guide my thoughts, use my words, and bless all those who read these posts. Amen

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