Pure in Heart
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
When I think of someone with a truly pure heart, besides Jesus and His blessed mother, I think of children, little boys and girls seeing the world through innocent eyes. Beauty, color, texture, taste, feelings of warmth and safety, good feelings that make little faces light up with smiles. Their eyes are windows to pure hearts and souls. Perfect, simple, clear and as yet unmarred by the brokenness of the people and world they now reside among. When holding a little one I want that sense of wonder and purity in their tiny life to last forever.
I was outside with my four year old grand daughter yesterday helping her learn to dribble a basketball and watching her learn to ride her two-wheeled scooter. In watching her push the scooter across the driveway, the cold breeze blowing back her long blond hair, rosy cheeks and wide eyes, smiling, excited, concentrating, I saw pure joy, simplicity, clear-eyed interaction with God and His creation. Exaggerating? I don’t think so. The pure in heart see God. I believe even when they don’t consciously realize it, because they see Him in everything. Because God is indeed ‘everywhere present and filling all things.’
The pure in heart see God in the ordinary. In people, places and things that are routinely taken for granted. But for the pure in heart, little is ordinary, God’s presence changes things. This is the definition of sacrament, God’s presence in an ordinary thing that changes it, makes it extraordinary. The pure in heart won’t have a liberal or a conservative worldview, they see the world through a sacramental lense, one in which the presence of God, His love, grace, mercy and peace, animates everything.
Oh that I might have this pure heart! This heart of a child, pure and innocent!
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, talk up his cross and follow me…” (Matthew 16:24). Many of us are taught that following Jesus means to follow His teaching from the Bible, and this is true. But there is a spiritual, sacramental part of this as well.
Jesus said, “…Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise…” (John 5:19). Jesus ‘saw’ what God was doing. This is how the pure in heart follow Jesus as well. They ‘see’ Him. They watch what He is doing, they follow Him and do what He does.
Unfortunately, all who are known as Christians are not pure of heart. Many of us are bound to the world, to wicked motivations, selfish intentions, full of recent doctrines based on worldly trends, making the Bible say what we want instead of how it has been traditionally interpreted. Our walk with Christ is honest, but shallow; serious, but slanted. Colored by regional or political bias instead of cultivated through relationship.
To be pure of heart means having a mind that is transformed, seeing things clearly and honestly, with none of the dark and distorted filters of sin that blacken the soul and hide the light of Christ.
Do you want to see God? You must have a pure heart. It doesn’t just happen when you’re saved, it is a daily battle against the forces of evil and our lustful flesh that seek to bind us and keep our vision cloudy and confused. Deny yourself, take up your cross, watch what Jesus is doing – do that.