Is purity possible?


My reading in Matthew’s Gospel stopped this morning at this one line from Jesus’ words about discovering true joy- “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NIV) What is this thing that Jesus speaks about here? It is an inner life that is not corrupted by mixed motives, the core of a life that is made clean of guilt and shame, a sincere love for God and good. 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. The pure in heart trust God completely even as they wrestle with real life problems and challenges.

Have you confused purity in the same way that the Pharisees of Jesus’ time did?  They attempted to find purity by writing detailed rules for life and living, as much as possible, in isolation from the rest of their society. By avoiding those they considered ‘contaminated’ they thought they could find and preserve their own purity. As they walked the streets they held their robes close to prevent them from brushing against the `ordinary sinners’ among whom they lived. Did it work? Apparently not. Jesus used strong language to point out their hypocrisy, calling them ‘whitewashed tombs, glistening on the outside but full of dead men’s bones.’  Not exactly a description of a pure heart, is it?

The pure in heart are filled with the Spirit of God and they are to be like `salt and light.’ We think of salt primarily as a flavor. Jesus used the metaphor of salt in the way it most valued in His time- as a preservative. The pure in heart who have found their place in Him are not corrupted by being part of their world, they actually make it better!  He explained further that just like we don’t light a lamp only to put it under a basket, carrying it to a room to dispel the darkness, so those who knew God heart-deep take the Light to a dark world so others can find their way.

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 thoughts, motives, words and actions are aligned with God’s truth, we find a new kind of vision that sees God at work in every day places. We also know the uniquely wonderful joy of living without hiding, without the need to pretend or pose.  Yes, that transparency gives us new eyes that ‘see God,’ that is, know Him intimately.

How can we gain a pure heart? We begin, as David, with a prayer for change. “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)  When we know that we have failed or fallen, we turn to Him, honest in our confession. He will not reject us, turn from us, abandon us. He gives us the heart of Jesus, washing us. The Word says “There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NLT)

True purity is beautiful thing not reserved only for children, little church ladies, and old men! It grows in us when we take time to commune with our holy Father because purity is not just an absence, it is God’s wholeness in us.  Pray for purity and then allow the Spirit to lead you away from dirt and corruption, to become whole, transparent, and filled with the life of Jesus.

Here’s a word from Word. May the Lord make it like a purifying flame that causes a godly beauty 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)

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

Who You Say I Am
(Worship with this song that sets our sights higher)

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

 Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

 Free at last
He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

 In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

 I am chosen not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who You say I am

 (Oh) (Yes) I am who You say I am

Ben Fielding | Reuben Morgan © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055


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