THE PURIFIED HEART
"Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Do you notice your attitude change when you are shown unexpected mercy? While you wait for the slap of disappointment and shame, you are instead amazed by grace. Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
In these kind moments, your heart is purified. This is like the refiner who heats up the metal until the impurities rise to the top where they can be skimmed off. Purity happens through processing to remove pollutants.
Paul spoke to the church in Rome about the influence of God’s kindness on us. It not only changes us but demands a new attitude towards others who disappoint us.
God’s kindness awakens in us a change of attitude. God’s mercy on me is the mercy I give to you. I do not deserve it and you cannot earn it.
The Desert Fathers (and Mothers) were monks and nuns who lived in 3rd century Egypt. They were known for their devotion to Christ. Many of their sayings were compiled and influenced religious development in subsequent generations. One of their sayings said,
"As long as the pot is on the fire, no fly or any other animal can get near it, but as soon as it is cold, these creatures get inside. So it is for the monk; as long as he lives in spiritual activities, the enemy cannot find a means of overthrowing him." [i]
Certainly, the fire of God’s Spirit has a purifying affect on us. When we are filled with God’s Spirit, we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Perhaps we are not as full of God as we lead others to believe. We tend to think we can hide the sin in your hearts.
Jesus message of purity was spoken to a religious people whose lives were filled with ritual washings and ceremony to remove uncleanness.
As the sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can never wash away all the bacteria and germs; the religious person cannot be satisfied of their cleanness before God.
Jesus noted the Pharisees who performed the rituals of cleansing flawlessly but inside were dead and corrupt. The hater is really a murderer. The private lust in your imagination is indicative of adultery in your heart.
Clarence Jordan was a Baptist pastor, Greek Scholar and farmer who founded a religious community in southwest Georgia. He was also influential in the founding of ‘Habitat For Humanity’. He said,
When people attempt to live a double life spiritually, that is, to appear pure on the outside but are not pure in the heart, they are anything but blessed. Their conflicting loyalties make them wretched, confused, tense. And having to keep their eyes on two masters at once makes them cross-eyed and their vision is so blurred that neither image is clear.[ii]
Ever felt that you were leading a double life? Have other gods and desires polluted your heart? Welcome to the family. None of us righteous, not even one—
But then there is this incredible gift of God’s mercy offered to us. Forgiveness and acceptance from God—it trumps our ugliness and impurity.
Faced with God’s mercy, I have a choice. Will I surrender or will I resist? The consideration of His kindness brings sobriety to my exaggerated mind. I can face the truth of my damaged self and receive the purifying Presence of a Father who weeps with joy over returning prodigals. God has not lost His mind, but found His children. He knows them intimately and waits for our gaze.
Impressed by God’s purity, we are cleansed in His love and open our eyes. With clarity of heart we find clarity of vision. We see God.