“God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8, NLT) “Purity” is a word that will often invite ridicule these days. What is lewd, mean, or even cruel passes for sophistication. A person who is capable of concealing his true intent or motive to double-dealing his way to ‘success’ is seen as clever. Purity is reserved for children, something we need to ‘out grow.’ But, Jesus invites us to a way of life that is so different from the corrupt world in which we live. I confess that the corruption invades my life, sneaking in so subtly from time to time. That is why I join David in his prayer- “Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. …Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:2,10, NLT)
To ignore the call of the Spirit is to out on the blessings of a godly life. Eugene Peterson amplifies the verse with this paraphrase: “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 and our thoughts are shaped by the wisdom of God; we are able to see the plans of our Creator, live in the bounty of His blessings, and know the profound joy of intimate worship as we walk with Him.
Purity has a practical purpose, as well. A person who walks with God in true holiness (not just superficial piety) is ‘salt and light’ in her world, a real change agent for good. 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. To be ‘salt and light’ as He taught, we must be in contact, available, rubbing shoulders with others. In the time of Jesus, salt was much more than a flavoring agent; it was the preservative, preventing rottenness. A light, He said, is not hidden under a basket! We carry it to a room to dispel the darkness.
True purity, not mere piety, does change people with who the pure live and work. That purity flows, not from rigid self-discipline, but rather from an ongoing intimate communication with the Spirit of God. Purity is not just the absence of corruption; it is the wholeness of God in us. Piety comes from our own efforts to ‘be good’ and usually comes off as either Pharisaical superiority or spiritual pride. 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)
Here’s a word from Word. May the Lord cause 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) Oh Lord, make us beautifully whole, we pray. Amen.
Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You
You are the potter
I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray
Eddie Espinosa © 1982 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Integrity Music)
CCLI License # 810055