“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-11 ESV)

Focus of the Month: Jesus Teaches: The Sermon on the Mount/Beatitudes

Have you watched a young child experience something for the first time? The excitement, the wonder, the joy of it all! A purity envelops the event and infuses the hearts of those involved in the encounter. That purity we witness is really innocence. We sometimes interchange the two terms. However, the “pure in heart” referred to in these scriptures speaks of so much more.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

As we have studied the Beatitudes, it’s apparent Jesus is speaking not so much about the physical or emotional state of His followers, but their spiritual state: the condition of their hearts. Jesus’ sermon is a progression of the walk of faith; the surrender of self to God; the understanding of our need of a Savior, humbling ourselves to receive Him, and then pursuing Him and serving Him with steadfast passion and singleness of heart.

The poor in spirit refer to those who know they need Christ. Those who mourn point to those who sorrow for their sins and separation from Christ, and who long for reconciliation. The meek clothe themselves in humility, knowing Christ performs the work in them for the advancement of His Kingdom. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness passionately pursue the Lord – diligently seeking Him and desiring to please Him. The merciful receive a harvest of the mercy they have sown. Which brings us to the pure in heart, who shall see God.

But what makes our hearts pure?

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

1 John 3:3 notes, “Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Many people want to cry out to God like David, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” It’s not a “wrong” prayer – but Jesus has finished the work and sent His spirit as our Helper. We have a responsibility in the equation of maintaining a pure heart. David was of the Old Covenant. We are of the New. The work of the Cross is finished, and we are carriers of His presence, His spirit – vessels of the Lord.

Therefore, we can’t expect God to ‘fix’ our hearts. The work has been done. It’s a matter of our choice – our faith. Have we submitted ourselves to God, surrendering our desires to fulfill His purpose? Are we obedient to seek Him first, to love Him most, and to serve others in His name? Are our hearts unadulterated, pursing Him with all that is within us?

The pure in heart have no distraction, no drawing, and act on no enticement apart from Christ. The pure in heart seek and serve Christ, loving their neighbors as themselves. The pure in heart love the Lord their God with ALL their heart, mind, soul and strength. Those are the ones who will see God.

Is your heart unadulterated – loving the Lord your God first and foremost? Do you have singleness of heart toward God? Or are you double-minded – your affections set on something else more than the Living God? Be encouraged to take an inventory in your life – your heart – your mind. Determine if your affections are set highest upon God, or upon other things in this lifetime. Do you long to see God? Purify your heart. Seek Him above all else. And obey His commandment of love. Draw near to Him and fix your hope upon Him.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Maryann

Scripture References: Psalm 51:10; Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 1:4; 5:2; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Jeremiah 29:13; 2 Chronicles 12:14; Psalms 119:45; Matthew  6:24; 6:33; 22:37-40