Journal Entry // February 19, 2023
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (ESV)Matthew 5:8
As Jesus continues on in the Beatitudes and the expressions that flow from a heart that is truly hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of Christ, the second expression he mentions is that of a pure heart that will see God. It is important to note that Jesus is calling us to live a life of purity not in our outward external visible conduct and actions. He doesn’t tell us that the pure in deeds or the pure in actions will see God. No, the call is to have a pure heart. Purity of heart encompasses the external actions that are seen by everyone but exposes the motives, desires, and affections that are driving those external actions. The phrase, “pure in heart” is a call to not live a double-minded life but to be in spiritual synchrony with the mind of Christ. Purity of the heart is the central theme of a life of worship where we love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. Our inner life and our outer life are of a singular purpose.
I find this call to purity in heart to be an incredibly difficult standard because it is not something that you can break down into a twelve-step manual or rules. It is not something where you can ever really say, “I am now pure in heart.” This call to purity in heart is really nothing more than living each and every moment as Jesus has already described in the previous beatitude statements. It is understanding my spiritual beggarness, mourning my sin, living meek and gentle, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Purity in my heart flows from this understanding of who I am and who Jesus is. Purity in my heart is a call to let the grace and mercy of Christ overwhelm me. It is casting a vision of a life that is satisfied only in Christ and daily rests in the Saviour’s righteousness.
Purity in my heart is about my character and it all starts within. There are two points of focus for me in this call. The first is to examine my motives and ensure they are flowing from humility. Humbleness, meekness, gentleness – these are all the starting points for how I engage with Jesus. If I am not beginning from a state of humility, then all the other facets of my life will be off. Humility is the great influencer and driver of my thoughts. It is humility that allows me to not let critical, demeaning, accusing, or judging thoughts dwell in my mind. Humility is what drives me to extend grace and mercy to others in my thoughts. It is my thoughts that inform my actions. It is these deep thoughts that I dwell and meditate on that eventually get expressed in my actions (speech and deeds). It is my inner thoughts that need to be pure.
Secondly, how do I have a pure heart? It is simply being satisfied in the righteousness of Christ. I cannot wear a mask that presents anything other than the true state of my heart at any time. Not before others and certainly not before God. To be pure in heart, I need humility. I need openness and honesty before my Lord each and every moment of each and every day. I need not hide my sin that is there. I need not cover up my sin that is there. What I need is to expose my sin to the bright gospel light of Christ and repent. I need to repent of my wicked heart, my evil thoughts, my prideful desires, and my self-righteous actions. This is purity of heart. Not that I live a life of perfect purity, but that I recognize the impurities that are present and bring them to Jesus for cleansing and see Jesus make me pure and whole. Then… I will see God. I will see the work of God in my heart. I will see the transforming work of the Spirit within me as he makes me more like Jesus each and every day.