Truly Blessed, Part 5 – Pure

One of life’s blessings, taken for granted by most of us, is access to clean water. We go to a faucet and draw a glass of water to drink without a thought of being sickened. The water that sustains life is available to us in abundance, pure and clean. The city of Flint, Michigan, changed the source of the municipal water supply about 5 years ago. All seemed well until people became sick.  Testing revealed impurity, particularly high levels of lead. The water that was drawn from the Flint River and fed in the older pipes of the city caused corrosion of those pipes and made the water impure, with terrible health consequences for hundreds of people.

I want to take two concepts from Jesus’ teaching for our thoughts today.

The first is His word about finding God’s best, true joy, through purity of heart. He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NIV) The word He used in the original text was used in several ways, among them, the refining of precious metal by fire. Pure silver only emerged from the ore when melted in intense heat so that the base metals could be skimmed from the molten mix. The word was also used for the work in the vineyard, when pruning away excess leaves and branches created a vine that would be most fruitful.  Purity of heart is a process that makes us useful to the purposes of God, that allows us to see and desire the work of God. In that state, we are ‘blessed,’ enjoying the best of live in God’s will.

So what is purity of heart?  

It is a true desire for God that replaces lesser desires in us.  When we pursue Him, love Him, worship Him, follow and obey Him- we are made whole, holy, pure. It IS NOT something we can accomplish solely through our own effort.  We come to Christ, acknowledging our impurity, those things that corrupt us – pride, lust, and greed for example – and in our confession we are cleansed by Him. 

We must treasure this gift of grace that John explains this way:   “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 1:8-2:1, NIV)

If we attempt purity on our own, the result will inevitably be hypocrisy and/or legalism, a superficial, self-made ‘purity’ that is really not pure at all, though it make appear to be.  We cannot rid ourselves of the sinful nature by discipline, accountability, or self-denial.

Do those things have a place in our lives? To a degree they may but only after we have been ‘purified’ by Christ’s gift of salvation, made alive to God, the Holy Spirit, with a new heart. Then, we ‘walk out’ our salvation, learning to respond to the Spirit’s leading as He replaced the impurity of the old nature with His life and Light.

Do you struggle with impurity?
Do you find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed because of selfish and sensual habits that you know are not of God?

Know this – you are of incredible worth to Him and He does not throw you away in your failure. IF we confess our sins (own them and speak of them as God does) HE forgives and purifies.

This brings me to the second idea.

A pure heart is a source of refreshing to others which makes us joyful, happy Christians.  Jesus said “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45, NIV)  Do you want to become a person who encourages others? Do you want to be a person who makes the world a better place?  Do you want to be life-giving, with healing and hope in your words?  Then, pray for a ‘pure heart.’ 

If our inner person is toxic with hatred, selfishness, racism, bitterness, unforgiveness, or sensuality – we may conceal it but those things will taint the overflow of our heart as surely as the waters of the Flint River poisoned the people of that city!  How I love the words that Jesus shouted, a promise of a new way of life. “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39, NIV)

Yes, we are truly blessed and happy, and bring the gift of joy to others, when we overflow with the Spirit, spilling living water into a world that is dry and dead! But, the source must be pure, not tainted. We can be ‘pure in heart.’

Here is a word from the Word, full of promise. May the Truth capture our mind and heart today. “Since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:21-24, NIV)  Christ, our great Priest and sacrifice, makes us pure, a spring of the water of life.

_________________

One Pure And Holy Passion

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Jesus give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You

To know and follow hard after You
To grow as Your disciple in the truth
This world is empty pale and poor
Compared to knowing You my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after You
Lead me on and I will run after You

Mark Altrogge

© 1988 Sovereign Grace Praise (Admin. by CURB | Word Music Publishing)

Curb Dayspring Music (Admin. by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.)

CCLI License # 810055

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