Our culture is corrupt! For reasons I cannot fully grasp, much of our entertainment is packed with lewd, crude, and/or shocking content. Foul, profane language spews even from children. Many young women seem not to understand the difference between dressing beautifully and dressing to seduce. Each week brings yet another story of some prominent person in a leadership position who is revealed as a rapist, a thief, a hypocrite, or a liar. Our media seems to celebrate the sordid, ugly details more even than just reporting them. It happens so often that trusting our pastors, political leaders, teachers, and physicians is becoming a quaint relic of the past.
My goal is not just to be different. I want a pure heart! Jesus promises that “the pure in heart, … will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NIV) To understand this as only a promise of heaven is to miss a huge part of the blessing. In The Message, the larger intent of His words emerges. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” When our actions are aligned to the will of God, our hearts full of the Spirit of God, and our thoughts shaped by the wisdom of God; a wholeness of being lets us see the real world of love and beauty that exists in the plan of the Creator.
Those pure in heart can love without getting tangled up in lust.
Those pure in heart can give without twisting generosity into a means of manipulation.
Those pure in heart can trust God without needing to ignore the problems that are part of life.
The best part of being a person of true purity is the amazing impact on the world he or she can have. Some Christians mistakenly adopt the error of the ancient Pharisees who thought that purity was best protected by isolation. They tried valiantly to live in a way that pleased God by avoiding those that they thought would contaminate them. Even as they walked the streets they held their robes close to prevent them from brushing against the ‘ordinary sinners’ among whom they lived. Jesus told them they were missing the point. The pure are part of God’s plan to save the world. He says that we function like ‘salt and light.’ We think of salt primarily as a flavor. He knew it as a preservative. He said that we don’t light a lamp only to put it under a basket! We carry it to a room to dispel the darkness.
True purity, not mere piety, does change people who come into contact with it. It’s a beautiful thing not reserved only for children, little church ladies, and effeminate men! Purity comes from intimate communication with our holy Father. Purity is not just the absence of filth; it is wholeness of God in us. Piety comes from our own efforts to ‘be good’ and usually comes off as either Pharisaical superiority or a rigid restraint of self. So we pray, “Cleanse me … and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. … Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:7,10, NIV)
Pray for purity. When the Spirit leads you away from filth, turn your eyes on Jesus. Here’s a word from Word. May the Lord make it a purifying fire that burns up the sin and causes a beautiful holiness to emerge in us. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. …
And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” (1 Peter 1:22-2:2, NIV)