Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Whenever I see this verse, I have to ask myself “How will I ever achieve this?” A pure heart is a rare thing, and when I consider the heart I once had, full of ornery, deceitful, sinful, vile things I have to wonder how I can ever get all of that out of there. I quickly realize I cannot, but God can. I just have to figure out how to let Him. He will not come in and just do it. I have to ask step by step, and as He shows me the deceitful, wretched ways that are still in there, I can tackle them one by one.
What are some of those things that hide in my heart that make it impure? The first one that comes to my mind is pride. Pride hides from one’s heart like a cockroach hides from the light. If you see one, you know there are probably hundreds. If you uncover a drop of pride, most likely there is a river of pride just waiting to be discovered. I can see pride in a person but if I tell them, it is unlikely they will believe it. Only God and His Holy Spirit can reveal pride to a person, and only the Holy Spirit can help us rid ourselves of that pride by bringing it under control. It is the most deceitful of all the vices, and the hardest to overcome. But we must! God requires humility (Micah 6:8), as we discussed in the last post. He loves a contrite spirit and a broken heart (Psalm 51:17). When was the last time your heart was broken before God? When was the last time you were at an altar, broken and on your knees before Him? This is how I finally tackled my pride and have some control now. It is not an easy road.
The next one I think of is prejudice or biases we have. I know this is true of me. When I see some people groups I always wonder if they can be as smart or as successful as I am. I admit this. If they are not fluent in English, I wonder. If they are of a different cultural group, I wonder. If they are foreigners, I wonder. I know in my head this is really stupid thinking, but my heart is deceitful and always poses this question to me. It makes me think myself better (pride setting in) and I have a long way to go to overcome this one, but God is working on me in this area, and I am thankful.
Another area, especially for men, is lust. Men are more susceptible to this and have a harder time getting the images out of their heads. And the images are everywhere. TV ads and shows, movies, billboards, magazines, and the like pose women as sexual objects all the time. I have been caught up in this area most of my life, as I can remember sexual things that happened all the way back to childhood. They still come back into my mind. I urge parents to keep their young children, especially boys, away from any material sexual in nature. It will stay with them for a lifetime, and their lust will grow to deeper and deeper depths as the satisfaction level must be met. These pictures infect the heart and become as addictive as meth or cocaine. Avoid it with all you can muster.
The last I will discuss, and there are many more, is covetousness. It creeps into our lives so easily. We want a better car, a bigger camper, a different house, keep up with the latest styles or have that new gadget. It’s not because we need it, but because others are doing the same thing and we want to keep up, or look nice or be cool. The worst part is we can’t afford it so we take out a loan, or do it on credit. Believe me, I know all about this one. It catches me all the time, and it is nothing but envy, lust and pride all rolled into one. It is an endless cycle that will rob us of our freedom if we allow it to. Watch out for this trap.
So how do we get to the point of a pure heart. First, it takes the previous steps in the beatitudes to get to this point. Be humble, mournful, meek, righteous, and merciful. Those are the steps to obtain a pure heart. Wow! What a journey that is for us. But we must take it in order to purify the depths of our heart. It is not possible without these things being active in our lives at all times. I think by now you can look at this list and see why they are all necessary for the purification of the heart.
Next, we must ask the Lord to show us our own heart. Remember Jeremiah 17:9 says
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The Bible teaches us that God knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. Psalm 94:11 says
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. We have to go to God to find out what is truly in our heart, because our heart will deceive us all the time. How do we do that? Psalm 139:23-24 says it best:
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
When we ask God to do this, He will tell us what we should next tackle. He will show us what is going on our hearts and lead us to His way. But we must listen carefully to His voice. It may come from another person, from a sermon we hear, from our daily devotion or from something we read online or see on a YouTube, Maybe even a song will speak to us. Many times, these things will come from two or three different sources on this list. If we are open to hearing God’s voice, we will know He is dealing with us in an area of our lives. We must pay attention when we pray this prayer or we will miss a golden opportunity to move toward a pure heart.
The advice to listen to your heart can drive you the wrong direction very easily. Listen to God would be much better advice. Many people do not really understand how to listen to God’s voice. It really is not hard. What is hard is doing what is required and that is the advice Psalm 46:19 gives us:
Be still and know that I am God
It is when we still ourselves, our thoughts, and our minds and allow God to breath His still small voice into our spirits that we hear His voice. Silencing those areas of our lives is very difficult for most. It takes time to develop this practice, but it is well worth it. They say it takes 20 minutes to close off the mind to outside thoughts. 20 minutes of just waiting on God to speak to us with no other thoughts or cares of this world creeping in. This is not a time to be meditating on your favorite verse or portion of scripture or the latest message you heard. It is a time to just meditate on God and yearn to hear his voice. Not asking in your head but sitting quietly and stilling yourself before Him. I remember the first time my counselor at Pure Life Ministries asked me to do this. I could not figure out how in the world I could accomplish it. But I learned and now it is priceless to spend that time with God. Do all you can to get to the place you hear His voice clearly. The benefit of a pure heart can be yours.
The result of having a pure heart is also priceless. We shall see God! What a remarkable statement. We shall see who God really is and what He wants for our lives. We shall see His purpose and the way to achieve it. We shall see His image, the one that we are made after, and we shall know how to walk out our day to day lives. We will see God starting to be formed in us. We will be transformed by the renewing of our minds and we will prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. I want to walk there and live there. How about you!