Pure Hearts

Text: Matthew 5:8
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (NRSV)

What does it mean for one to be pure in heart?  In biblical times, the heart was seen as the source of all human desires and emotions.  Purity is the understanding that outside contaminating elements have not been introduced into the item in question.  

We see this understanding of purity in the biblical language of the refining fire.  There are more than a dozen verses in the Bible that talk about refined or refining silver or other items as an image of purity.  Refining is the act of removing anything that contaminates the base element in question.

When I think about what it means then, to be pure in heart, I believe that it means that when I am pure in heart my desires and emotions are shaped only by my relationship with God.  It means that there are no outside contaminating sources that influence my desires or my emotional responses.

How amazing it would be, if the TV shows or movies I watched did not influence my desires or my emotions.  How amazing it would be, if the conversations with my family and friends did not influence my desires or my emotions.  How amazing it would be, if my interactions on Facebook and Twitter did not influence my desires or my emotions.

Having said that, I also believe that it is true that not all outside sources like TV, movies, or even some things that we see on Facebook and Twitter contaminate our hearts and make them impure.  What allows our hearts to become impure and, therefore, blind us to the face of God, is putting a higher priority on what the outside influences are saying than what the Word of God is saying.

Jesus saying that blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God, at the very least, means that those who allow sources other than God to influence their desires and emotions will become blind to the presence of God in their lives.  I believe that it also means, at some point, they will cease to recognize God at all and be given over to the contaminating influences in their lives.  In other words, they will be separated from God.

My challenge to myself, is to continue to examine the source of my desires and emotions.  My goal is to “refine” my desires and emotions by the Word of God so that they are influenced by things that are of God and not things that are of the world.  This not only involves daily Scripture reading, meditation on the Word of God, and prayer, but also staying away from obviously ungodly influences.  I believe that if I continue to do this, I will not risk loosing sight of the face of God in my day to day living of my life.  I believe that my heart will become more and more pure.

Pray with me:

God of refining fire, purify my heart with your Word in my life.  Protect me from the contamination that comes from the broken world in which I live.  May the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight.  AMEN.

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