Sometimes we make things harder than they are. Such as the sixth beatitude in the book of Matthew.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 ESV
At first glance this seems impossible. But I came across a little booklet that provided insight. A Bible study on the Beatitudes written by Pat King and George O. Wood and printed in 1984. I am so thankful this sister and brother in Christ shared the insight God gave them.1
In the introduction I read: “You can be pure: pure from envy, pure from hatred, pure from lust, pure from pride and selfishness. Jesus has said you can be pure, and this lesson shows you how.”
Those of you who read my blog posts regularly, know this year I am asking “how” do we put into practice Scripture. When we are given commandments such as “Be holy as I am holy” [1 Peter 1:16]; “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” [Matthew 6:33] ; “Love your enemies do good to those who hate you” [Luke :627]… I search for the details on how I might put into practice commands that do not reflect my nature.
We can strive to accomplish all God’s commandments, make them hard work, or we can ask God to show us how to walk in His ways. Sometimes the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the steps and other times He will show a sister or brother in Christ, and we can learn from one another just as I gleaned wisdom from the authors of this little booklet.
Here’s what I learned.
A pure heart is the result of being cleansed of sin. The authors of this booklet showed how this cleansing takes place.
**For a pure heart:
As we become aware of sin, we are to own it. (1 John 1:8) Also, we are to confess it.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ESV
No matter how horrific we think our sin is, or how many times we have committed the same sin, we take it to God asking His forgiveness and cleansing.
But we remember that confession is not glib words, but words spoken in contriteness with a brokenness of heart. The authors of the booklet wrote: “Continued brokenness will bind the sin. Coldness of heart will perpetuate the sin.”
Also necessary for a pure heart is the pursuit of righteous living. 2 Timothy 2:22 teaches that those who call on the Lord from a pure heart are people who pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
Merriam-webster.com defines righteous as acting in accord with divine or moral law. We might say it is choosing the right way to live, God’s way over the ways of the world or our own assessment of right and wrong.
We not only go after a clean heart but all the gains we make we try to maintain. In James 4:8b we are warned against double-mindedness. In modern Christian language we refer to this as walking with one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot in the world.
3-Rely on God.
Finally remember who is at work in us, who will help us.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, either can you, unless you abide in me.” John 14:4 ESV
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12b-13 ESV
In Psalm 51 David goes to God asking that He purify him so he will be clean, wash him so he will be whiter than snow, and to blot out all his iniquities. He approaches God because he knows his sin is against God.
“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Psalm 51:4a ESV
He approaches God expectantly asking that he create a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him. (Psalm 51:10)
Jesus tells us in the sixth beatitude that a pure heart is a blessing because we will see God. This alone is incentive to keep our heart pure.
©2023 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved
Image by Nenad Maric on Pixabay
1-What reasons can you list for desiring a pure heart? (Share them in the comment section!)
2-Can you paraphrase Matthew 5:8? Share this beatitude in your own words in the comment section.
1-The Beatitudes, Expressing the Character of Jesus by Pat King and George O. Wood. Published by Women’s Aglow Fellowship, International, Lynnwood, WA 98046-1558.