"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God." -Matthew 5:8 (NRSV)
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." -Psalm 51:10 (NIV)
"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." -Hebrews 12:4 (NRSV)
- - - - -
Of all the beatitudes, "blessed are the pure in heart" feels the most unattainable. My mind jumps right to the perfectionistic tendencies that I know all too well. I can very easily read this and see "blessed are perfect, flawless people who make no mistakes, for they will be the only ones to see God...oh and you don't belong."
Wow. It's far too easy to feel unworthy. I read one verse about the pure in heart and immediately believe that my heart will never measure up. I've tried this whole being perfect thing and it just doesn't work. It's impossible.
Then, I find myself coming back to this truth: It is impossible to be pure in heart...but it has been made possible for me. Christ has paid the price and is actually perfecting me more and more every day.
It is sometimes tough to handle the idea of being perfect or pure in Christ. Our culture tells us one of two things: 1) Never change. You're perfect just the way you are. 2) Be better and earn your way to the top.
I'm not really a fan of either...There is too much "me" in both perspectives.
You see, our idea of perfection has to change drastically when Jesus is in the picture. The truth is that I'm not perfect just the way I am, and earning my way to purity will lave me striving until I die.
With Christ, however, we are being made perfect every day. If He is in our hearts, purity will continually spread within us taking us on a journey to righteousness.
What, then, does this purifying process look like? Well get you togas on because we're about to go Greek... The Greek word for "pure" in this particular verse is katharos, which means to be clean, blameless, and unstained from guilt. In fact, this word can refer specifically to something being purified by fire or by pruning.
John 15 speaks to the idea of pruning as Jesus refers to believers as being the branches and to Himself as being the vine. However, for a branch to produce fruit is must be pruned. Also, Malachi 3:2 references the Messiah being like a "refiner's fire."
In a very interesting way, the parallels of being refined by fire or being pruned display the idea that becoming pure is a continual journey and that the journey is not necessarily easy.
The journey to purity has a certain dependency on God. In order to continue, we have to lose ourselves more and more as we are refined into looking like Christ. There is a single-mindedness toward God that comes from being pure in heart.
A pure heart has no hidden agenda, hypocrisy, or the like. Put simply, a pure heart is one fully surrendered to Christ.
This is a beautiful picture that totally and completely negates the idea of earning our way to purity. God is already righteous, holy, and pure and He desire for us to reclaim our image and identity in Him.
This bring us to the "for they will see God" portion of the verse. It's actually quite simple...
We will see and understand more facets of who God is as we become more like Him. In a very natural way, the purification process is leading us to see and recognize God.
So be encouraged. Don't put an unneeded pressure on yourself to be perfect and perform for others. Purity of heart is unattainable unless there is a complete reliance on God.
Though God cannot mingle with sin, He will not give up on you. He will continually refine and purify you if you allow Him to take you on that journey.
Thanks for the read. If you enjoyed today's devotion, help us out by sharing it with others. And as always, have a great day.
[guest writer, Steve Sullivant]