57. Repentance and Pursuit of a Pure Heart

by Apr 22, 20242024

To want something good often requires doing something hard. This certainly applies to keeping a pure heart. Matthew 5:8, the profound, tiny portion of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, promises, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (NIV). It helps me to insert the meaning of the Greek word for “blessed”, which is “happy”. If we harbor things in our hearts, such as secret sins or participation in unclean activities, we would be anything but happy to see God in that condition!

In fact, Scripture points out that God and sin don’t mix well. My respect and reverent fear for the Creator of the universe causes me to tremble when I imagine myself standing before God with unconfessed sin. It is my commitment to never let this be so!

The Path to ‘Seeing’ God

In addition, I interpret that verse in Matthew to mean that when I resist the temptations and lusts of the flesh, otherwise known as greed, jealousy, dishonesty, and impure thoughts, just to name a few, then I will see God at work. Keeping ourselves from behaviors such as these is what it means to have a pure heart. Purity is defined as freedom from corruption and compromise. When our hearts are pure before God, it means we harbor no bitterness, no unforgiveness, or anything that would separate us from a holy God. It is then, as Matthew 5:8 promises, that we will see God. In other words, we will see Him when we pray, and as He uses us to bless others. We will also see Him in others more clearly and in the beauty of His creation.

The reality is that the more faithful we are to God, the more we will see Him working in our lives and in the lives of others. I believe even the beauty of creation is enhanced when we see the hand of its Creator. The privilege of “seeing” God must be the most thrilling part of life – the summit of our human experience. I can personally testify that nothing compares to witnessing God at work in the hearts of people, and participating in the lives of those God is impacting.

And when does this occur? It is primarily when our hearts are right with Him. When nothing has interfered in our communion with our Creator. In contrast, sin, rebellion and every other selfish or stubborn stance we take in opposition to God’s Word and His plan for our life, diminishes our ability to see Him at work. It could be said that our heart determines what our eyes see. When we walk in step with our Savior, His beauty becomes magnified beyond that which physically surrounds us. He invites us to become partners, co-laborers with Him in the work of God’s Kingdom rule and reign. And oh, what a joy that is! A joy like no other!

A Full-Time Job

Yet to maintain a pure heart before a holy God requires regular repentance. We so easily and often fail to remain faithful to the commands and instructions God has given to us in order for our lives to reflect behaviors and attitudes pleasing to Him. Holiness (aka purity) is a full-time job! If we are not regularly acknowledging the sin that so easily besets us, then we’re either not paying close enough attention, or not holding ourselves accountable to all God has called us to embrace.

I do want to add that our obedience, or lack thereof, doesn’t either qualify us for eternal life, or exclude us from the salvation we receive as a free gift when we come to God in faith. It does, however, alter our experience of Him. For only as we grow in obedience to God’s Word do we experience the fullness of what God has for our lives. Disobedience, in contrast, will limit and lessen our ability to see Him clearly.

So, let’s be forthright, listening, and willing to come before God with a pure heart as He calls us to Himself. The Psalmist, David, has given us words we can also pray as we seek this, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10, NIV). He has given us His Holy Spirit, Who is faithful to confirm His love for us and to also convict us of our shortcomings. Let’s daily drink from the fountains of His love and conviction, always being willing and ready to repent for any sin He may reveal. May our lives reflect the goodness of His salvation. He deserves nothing less!