Today as we continue the How To: Series we begin to look at the all important area of the heart and share some wonderfully simple keys that will help us to initially find and then continue throughout life with a pure heart.
Todays Scripture Reference
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
We live in a world that can sometimes seem very evil and messed up, and in a time when things, at least by outward appearance, seem to be getting progressively worse rather than better. So how can we as Christian believers keep our hearts pure and from being infected by the wickedness that is rampant within the world?
(Habakkuk 1:13) You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness
*Since God Himself is pure, He desires for His children to be pure like Him!
So What Is Biblical Purity?
When Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart" the original Greek word used for "pure" is: (katharos)
katharos: clean (adjective)
Usage: clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright
If you can imagine the headwaters of a pure mountain stream, before they become polluted by other sources as they proceed through civilization, our hearts are meant to be like that!
God wants our hearts to stay unstained and innocent from the impurities that are found within the world.
Dangers of Spiritual Impurities
(Mark 4:18-19) Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Jesus identified a number things that we as believers in Christ have to protect ourselves from, lest we become spiritually infected by these impurities and become unfruitful in our Christian life. Just as our physical body can become infected by germs, which sometimes can lead to sickness or even death, so our spiritual heart can be infected by these elements and lose it's ability to prosper in God's kingdom. The three elements that Jesus identified are:
Cares of this world
Deceitfulness of riches
Desires for other things
Martha Mindset - 'Cares of this world'
(Luke 10:38-42) Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.
It's important to realise that nothing that Martha was doing was wrong or sinful, in fact she was trying to be helpful by ensuring the her guests needs were being met. Martha's mistake was allowing the cares of serving to enter her heart and becoming worried and troubled about it. There are many good things we can do in life that keep us distracted from doing the God things in life.
*Martha had the same opportunity that Mary did, to sit at Jesus feet and hear the words of eternal life, but she missed her chance by allowing unimportant things to take priority in her life.
Rich Young Ruler Mindset - 'Deceitfulness of riches'
(Matthew 19:21-22) Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions
The rich young ruler was not a wicked man, not a thief, not a murderer, not an adulterer, nor a liar. This young man respected and honoured his parents and tried to be kind to those he met throughout his day. He seemed to be living a righteous life and fulfilling the law, at least by what was able to be seen on the outside, and yet he knew that he still lacked something in his pursuit of eternal life.
This young man was given an opportunity to join Jesus disciples, and may potentially have even become one of the apostles in the early church. However, his entrance into this intimate group of followers was firstly conditional upon his fulfillment of one specific requirement.
Jesus told him to "go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
A life of true repentance is based upon our obedience to what God requires of us personally, and for each person what He asks us for may be different. God may require us to prove our obedience by asking us to give up something that really means a lot to us. This test of our faith can either open wide the doors of God's kingdom to us or shut them securely, either until we are willing to submit to Him, or even more tragically, forever.
Both riches and power have deceived the hearts of many men throughout history, and by accepting a false sense of confidence have begun to trust in and rely upon the ways of man instead of the ways of God. The rich young ruler had an idol in his heart that he was not willing to give up, his riches had claimed the place where God alone belonged.
Unworthy Followers Mindset - 'Desires for other things'
(Matthew 10:38-39) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it
Many people come to Christ, yet still want to maintain control over all areas of their lifestyle, they want to continue to find their own way, their own life, their own desires! To them Christianity is merely something to be expressed on Sunday, rather than a living faith that is enjoyed everyday and outworked progressively in all areas of life.
Jesus Christ did not come to earth merely to start a new religion or to offer an eternal insurance policy to those who wanted to escape from the Day of Judgement. He came to become the way, for those willing to become children, to be welcomed back to the Father
God wants to develop a very real and intimate relationship with us all today, so that we may see how much He loves us, and through seeing, desire to yield our life, our future and our hope to Him through Jesus our Saviour. Jesus offers us a brand new life filled with joy and riches that can only be seen and understood by those who set their minds and hearts fully upon heaven.
Our Cleansing at Salvation
When we come into a personal relationship and yield our life to Christ we experience an inner transformation in our spiritual heart. When the Holy Spirit renews us we are cleansed from all our sins and made clean and pure by the power of Jesus perfect sacrifice.
The pure blood of Jesus Christ which was shed for mankind has the power to cleanse the human heart from all sin. Through the act of believing in Him and His resurrection from the dead we receive forgiveness in the sight of God and a miraculous new life and destiny.
(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new
(John 3:3) Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
But How Do We Stay Pure Of Heart?
We have just read above that we receive our inner spiritual life transformed when we are converted and become followers of Christ, but how can we then as believers maintain that sense and joy and of purity as we walk with Him throughout our lifetime?
Throughout His ministry on earth Jesus gave many insights into the state of the human heart and its' importance in either assisting or limiting our personal entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. One of greatest keys Jesus gave us, and without doubt one of my personal favourites is developing and maintaining a childlike faith within a deeply trusting relationship with our Heavenly Father!
(Matthew 18:1-5) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom o