Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Have you been in situations where you wonder to yourself how does one see God? I see God working around me and in the lives of people serving. However, at times in my life I do not feel or see the presence of God personally. Yes, I can reflect back and see where God has taken me and has worked in my life. But, I don’t always feel his presence or see him. Of course, scripture tells us that no one has ever seen God face to face. I do want at least the next best thing, sensing his presence.
One way to allow the presence of God to show up is through a pure heart. What does one with a pure heart look like? I think many look for purity of heart through purity of thought. We think that if we keep our mind clean that equals purity. Although that is important (I must be constantly renewing my mind and filtering what I take into my mind) it is not the only way to a pure heart.
Another thing to think about is that actions do not always match the heart…at least for a while. Many of us will not reveal how we feel out of fear of vulnerability. So, we put on an exterior mask to cover the heart. Eventually, however, this catches up to us and we show our pent up heart in unhealthy ways. There is no denying what the heart is holding. We can modify behavior but the heart speaks louder. A simple example would be this: I am a school administrator. Several years ago we adjusted our dress code because we felt that our students were pushing the limits of modesty. With some resistance, our students would abide by the code during the school day. However, when it came time for a sporting event, not during school hours, the students would wear the clothes that verged on immodesty again. We changed their behavior around the issue of modesty during our school day but we did not change the heart as our students went back to their desire to dress their way.
Jesus speaks a lot about the heart. Throughout the Gospels Jesus teachings are heart oriented; especially when he spoke to the Pharisees. David spoke about the heart when he wrote Psalm 51. In verse 10, he asks God to create in him a pure or clean heart. This Psalm was written after the prophet Nathan had pointed out David’s sin with Bathsheba. God spoke about the heart when he chose David as king.
So, what does it take to have a pure heart? I believe that first and foremost I have to want a pure heart. If it is not my desire to have a pure heart, no amount of work will get me there. Second, there does have to be a renewing of the mind. I have to have a mindset change in order to work on a pure heart. Third, I need to be emotionally healthy. I need to know what I am feeling and be honest with myself and others where I am emotionally. When I do this, I become self-aware and I am able to be authentic. Fourth, I have to be in God’s word and have it written on my heart. We cannot discount this piece of transforming the heart. I cannot count how many times I was able to keep my heart pure because of passages of God’s word written on my heart. Finally, I have to pray. I need to continue to ask God to cleanse me and help me to have a clean heart. I also need to ask others to pray for me as well.
With a pure heart, we will be able to see God face to face one day. I also believe that he reveals himself to us in small ways as purity of heart grows within us. Prayerfully, as I do my heart work, he will show himself to me in ways that I cannot even imagine.
1. In what ways to do feel you have a pure heart?
2. In what ways is your heart lacking in purity?
3. Describe someone you know who demonstrates a pure heart.
4. Describe someone you know who fakes a pure heart. How do you know?
5. Name some steps you are willing to take in order to improve your purity of heart.
6. Choose one step…then over the course of this next week spend time meditating on and incorporating this step into your life.
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