We have been looking at the heart - and how its contents affects so many things! standing on the Mt. of Beatitudes,
looking across the Sea of Galilee back toward Tiberias
Do you want to stand on this same hillside in Israel?
There is still room on our November pilgrimage.
I can picture Jesus on this same hillside-probably seated on a large rock or tree stump, looking up, gazing over the crowds feeding on his every word . . . "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." It was the sixth such thing he had said, following 'blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and the merciful...' All of those are to be understood in some fashion before we can seek to understand what it means to be pure in heart.
You will remember that Jesus was becoming quite a sensation, teaching people about himself, his Father, and a new way--to repent and turn away from their sins. His teaching, the love he showed to all, his miraculous works caused people to follow after him; they wanted to be near him. But on this particular afternoon, Jesus was giving an insiders' talk, meant for those who had already made a commitment to follow in the dust of the Rabbi. "Jesus, what does it mean to you for imperfect human beings to be pure in heart?" Pure means unadulterated, unaffected, uncontaminated . . . in essence, clean! But unlike the precious newborn, it involves an intellectual and moral choice. The pure in heart have no ulterior motives. Ah, motive. Motives are not always known by other people, but they are weighed by the Lord.
Purity of heart is to will one thing, Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard quipped . . . what is that one thing? To be found righteous in you, God. To think your thoughts after you, God. To know that we are your 'poema', we are your workmanship, created by you to do good works before the world began. Purify my heart, Lord Jesus. Cleanse me of all that is of me, and not of you. Sweep away motives that bring glory to me and not to you - you know, things that will make me look good, rather than you. Help me release people of my expectations of them, for I hold them prisoner in my heart. Quiet my mind of my fears of not meeting others' expectations, reminding me that I play to an audience of just One. Quiet my heart.
>"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Matthew 5.8. What does it mean to be pure in heart? It means to be holy.
>Work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord Hebrews 12.18
>Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy Ephesians 4.24 >Live in holiness and honor. 1 Thessalonians 4.4.
>You must be holy, because I am holy. 1 Peter 1.16.
Purity of heart is to will one thing: to be found in God. And still, Friends, it is not a striving that God is after; it is not struggling to hit a benchmark of just so much righteousness--he wants our hearts. When we love him and give ourselves to him, he works his holiness out in us. That is why I love John chapter 15, where Jesus was sitting with his disciples, his best friends, inviting them--aye, inviting you and me--to abide in him, because then he will abide in us. Then we glimpse how it certainly is possible to be pure in heart. Christine