Jesus says in Matthew 5:8: Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (NKJ)
When I think of things that are pure, the things that come to mind are: a newborn baby, fine gold, a walk in nature, or a simple snowflake. But, purity is different than innocent or peace. Purity means "100% clean, not contaminated, unmixed.” It's the idea of being authentic or the real deal!
The word "pure" was often used to refer to wheat that had all the chaff removed. It was used to described a group of soldiers that had been purged of cowards. It was also a word that described a leper that had been cleansed to be made pure, clean, or well. Matthew 8 tells the story of a leper who pleaded to be made clean and Jesus made him pure or whole. Jesus purged the disease from his body. This is also Jesus’ idea of a pure heart, a heart purged from sin. He isn’t talking about being clean on the outside, but being clean on the inside. The way Jesus saw it, purity or cleanliness had to do more with what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside. Notice: that the emphasis here is what’s inside – what’s in the heart!
In Jesus' day, people believed the heart to be the very center of a person; feelings, motives, impulses, passions all flowed from your heart – the very core of your being.
Jesus got fired-up over some of the people of his day, because they spent a lot of time focused on the outer-man, looking good, wearing the right clothes, having long prayer beads dangling down to their knees, wearing their hair a certain way, all washed up – teeth nice and white. They loved to stand in the prominent places in the community and pray out loud. It was a nice show, but that’s all it was – it was a show! It wasn't pure.
Matthew 23:25-26 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 "Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. (NKJ)
They were all pretty, clean and decorated on the outside, but on the inside, they were rotting corpses. There was no real life going on in there! They were careful to keep the law, but their words and actions were slander, hatred, vulgarity, and abuse toward those who weren’t as clean or religious or like them. What stirred Jesus more than anything was their dishonesty, with themselves, and their dishonesty with God!
Here’s an interesting thought: Man looks on the outer appearance, God looks on the heart. When God looks at you, he pays less attention to your outward appearance than he does to your inner appearance.
So…what does it mean to pure in heart, and how do we get there?
one: According to Jesus, “purity of heart” doesn’t just mean believing the right things
Purity isn’t just head knowledge and going through the motions, it’s doing the right things with the right motives. Think about it, if we praise God with our lips and lift our hands in worship on Sunday and act as if we’ve never met Him on Monday, then we are like the hypocrites Jesus confronted and our praise is in vain. If we act spiritual in front of each other, but are devious and dishonest when no one is looking, then we are hypocrites and our spiritual actions are worthless.
Here's a question we must ask ourselves: Is there consistency between what I say I believe and how I how I live?
two: The Process of Purity begins when I FULLY UNDERSTAND who I NATURALLY Am (Before Christ)
Naturally, we are broken, we are separated from God. Hopeless!
Romans 3:23 says, "all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God."
Ephesians 2:1 reads, "we were dead in trespasses in sins."
John 3:18-19: "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
When we believe what he says about us in our natural state, we must come to the end of ourselves and turn to Him - for salvation and a life-long process of transformation.
Three: Purity of Heart = the absence of corruption from my life and the fullness of God’s Spirit in my life
The first step in the process to purity is Katharsis - "the purification and purgation of emotions, particularly pity and fear—through any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration." The first step on the road to freedom is "katharsis," purification, the freeing of oneself from the dominion of the body and the senses. (Stace, W. T.)
Katharsis = freeing yourself from the dominion of yourself.
You have a life to live and you want to live it to the fullest. If you want that, then you have to step down and release yourself from the throne. You must surrender and come into submission and agreement with God! Don’t resist! Begin now to take a full assessment of every area of your life. Rigorously interrogate your current reality - who you really are! Investigate it. Question it. Shine light upon it. Face it. Own it. DIE TO IT! Cut it off! (this is a biblical principle)
"If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (NKJ)
Purity isn’t only the absence of corruption from your life, it is also the fullness of God’s Spirit in your life. So, if any other thing is controlling you, cut it off! If it’s a sinful behavior, cut it off! If It’s fear, cut it out. It begins with shedding all the pre-tense and getting real.
St. Augustine put it this way: “Before God can deliver us from ourselves we must undeceive ourselves.”
Before we can do that we have to realize that no matter where we are on our journey with God, we have not yet reached the goal, but we continue to press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!
Here’s the challenge: Realize it’s not what’s on the outside that matters most to God, it’s what’s on the inside that matters...and when things change inside you, things will change around you!