Welcome to week seven of my series on The Beatitudes.
The Sermon on the Mount teachings are a demonstration of what we should be living as Christ followers. Jesus set the tone early on in His ministry regarding what He was about and what it meant to be His disciple and have a Kingdom mindset. These teachings are the foundation for what Jesus modeled and would be doing for the next three years of His earthly ministry, and what He longs for us His followers to do as well.
The Beatitudes are the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached for the here and now and also for the Kingdom to come. I look forward to diving in deeper to each one of the 8 Beatitudes in the weeks to come.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 NIV
“Hi Honey,” my husband said, as he walked in the door. “I just want to let you know that Tom and his wife will be stopping by in a minute or two.”
I glanced around the house in a panic and saw what I already knew to be true… it was a disaster! The kid’s books and toys were everywhere. I had piles of clean laundry still unfolded on one end of the couch and then there was the kitchen. The kitchen table had piles of papers, bills, mail, and a variety of other items stacked and scattered on it that I had still not put away.
I gave him a frustrated look letting him know I had heard him and then said, in a not too nice tone. “Well then you had better help me get this place picked up.”
I grabbed the laundry basket, piled it high with the clean clothes and raced it to my room, dumped them on the bed and repeated the process until the couch was clear. We then gathered all the toys and miscellaneous items, put them in the laundry basket and stuffed those in our room too. In fact, we did the same thing with all the items on the kitchen table too. I rushed the last load of items to our room and was about to shut the bedroom door when the doorbell rang.
Whew, just in time. By all appearances the house looked clean. Lived in yes, but it looked clean. No one would be the wiser, just as long as no one opened the door to our bedroom that is.
The house did look cleaned, yet if you looked closely, especially behind the closed bedroom door, you would definitely notice that it was anything other than clean.
Have you ever done something like that? Oh please, tell me I am not alone.
Sometimes, this is how it is when we think about cleaning our spiritual life and heart. We fix up the outside and make it look pretty and shiny. We will even clean certain areas of our life or heart, and sweep, shove, and push some stuff in the corner closet of our heart. We put a smile on our face, and pretend all is well, when in reality, it is not. Somehow, we try to convince ourselves that if no “sees our stuff” then we are ok. However, that is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, we more than likely didn’t do anything to solve the real problem.
Scripture is clear. Jesus is not concerned with our outward appearance as much as we are. Nope, He is concerned with the condition of our heart and our heart attitude.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)
Pure in heart does not mean pure intentions. It does not mean looking like we have it all together. In the same way that “poor in spirit” emphasized our spiritual poverty, Jesus puts the emphasis here on us being pure in heart. He wants us to have a heart that is spiritual pure. Not a perfect heart, but a heart that longs for His touch. A heart that is not ashamed to call out to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.
Jesus was addressing head on an issue that was prevalent in His day, as it is in ours. He was telling the people that having a pure heart is about the inside not the outside. It was not about looking spiritual, doing the right rituals, or saying the right prayers. It is more about the truth inside our hearts and allowing the two to line up.
“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption. Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:25-28 The Passion Translation)
God longs for us to call out to Him and desire a clean, pure heart. A heart free from sin. It is not something that we can earn or work for on our own. Nope, we cannot make our own hearts pure, it must come from God. It is only in the acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and in repentance (asking God to forgive us our sin), that our hearts can be made pure.
Just as David prayed “create in me a pure heart, Of God.” (Ps 51:10) We need to do the same.
There are many of us who long to see God or to feel Him near. What Jesus speaking to those who were listening that day during his sermon on the mount is the key. If we want to see God, we must have our hearts purified and sanctified before God, then and only then will we be granted access into the inner courts. Jesus was just reinforcing what the people would have already know from reading, hearing or studying the Scriptures. Psalm 24:3-4 says:
Who can possibly ascend the mountain of the Eternal?
Who can stand before Him in sacred spaces?
Only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure,
men and women who are not given to lies or deception (The Voice).
Only those who have asked to be made new and clean will be able to see God. This is what it means to be pure in heart. As we move closer to God, we can stand upon the promises of His Word that He will come closer to us, and we will indeed see Him.
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you. fBut make sure you cleanse your life, you sinners, and keep your heart pure and stop doubting (James 4:8 The Passion).
Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other (James 4:8 The Voice).
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By Sarah Geringer
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God is speaking, Can you Hear Him?
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