Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8 (New International Version)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

When we see a bright red heart on a card or bumper sticker, we automatically insert the word “love.” If we hear that someone is “all heart,” we know they are a caring person. A person who “wears his heart on his sleeve” lets his emotions show through openly and noticeably. If we urge someone to “have a heart,” it means we think they should have more compassion in a situation.

But in Jesus’ day, the heart (kardia in the Greek) was about more than emotion. It was considered to be the inner self, the source of soul and spirit, the seat of the rational life. So what does it mean for a person’s heart– their inner self,  mind and soul– to be pure? The Greek katharos meant, taken literally, free from dirt. According to the Friberg lexicon, katharos is used in metaphors like this one to mean living a life that is free from sin.

Jesus tells the crowd that if they are pure in heart, they will see God. And this is not just a “passing glance” kind of seeing. Orao meant to see, but also to experience, to know. It is mental and spiritual perception.

The pure in heart: they will be aware of God.

Okay, so, let’s take a poll here… How many of you have made it through the week so far without sinning? How many of us can say right now that we’re completely pure in heart? Anyone? No one? Me either. Don’t panic! We’re not alone. In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

So does this mean that we’ll never see God? No! God deeply desires for us to be in full, healthy relationship with him, and that’s exactly why Jesus came to earth. Jesus showed us the way God wants us to live. He showed us what true purity of heart looks like. And as we follow Jesus’ path more and more faithfully– as we seek God’s love and truth– our purity of heart will grow through God’s grace. And as that purity grows, we’ll be increasingly aware of God at work all around us.

In the last chapter of the Bible, we’re told that “no longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be upon their foreheads” (Revelation 22:3-4).

“They will see his face.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty amazingly, awesomely good to me…

In what areas of your life do you need more purity of heart right now? How can God help you to live in a healthier way?

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