Thursday, January 15, 2015

Purity: Pray for it and cling to it

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8


Keeping the heart wisely and guarding it's purity is not a task easily accomplished on our own. Yet, when we ask God to purify our hearts, to take away our sin, to show us the hardness that has crept in and darkened it's corners, He will help us. The culture around us won't help us keep a pure heart; only God can give us the wisdom to pursue it. In Hebrew, the word for pure is "bar" and it means to be clean and innocent. Each of us lives in the same imperfect world, and wrongs have been done to us. The culture we are exposed to does not promote purity, ideas that are wrong creep in our hearts, and our own sin takes over and begins to harden the heart. Often, we are too caught up in life to know it, yet all the while we are missing out on God.

"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1 Peter 1:22-23

Most of us have dealt with piles of clutter that build up and pretty soon we are decluttering our stuff for an entire day. Most of us do it hundreds of times throughout our lives. Keeping ourselves pure to see God, listen to His voice, and do His work is the most successful when we are not buried under piles of soul clutter. "Heart clutter" is similar to our piles of junk---it creeps in slowly and we don't notice it until it's built up. Poor attitudes, anger, resentments, bitterness, poor choices of entertainment and media consumption, even vanity and too much focus on outward things can erode the softness and purity of heart we are called to have as Christians.

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

Out of mercy and love for us, God will help us to have new eyes to see the areas He wants to change in our hearts, the things to eliminate from our lives, and thought processes He will change to become new again. He will show us how to focus on purity, but we must respond with the necessary steps and focus to make purity a priority in our lives. Our culture is very slack with entertainment, even Christians let things creep in where they ought not too, and pretty soon we become conditioned to watch things that promote violence, poor relationships, hardness of heart and poor attitudes. The enemy would like nothing more to erode us seeing things through a pure heart, because in doing so we become closer to God---and he wants to blind our hearts from seeing God as we should.

The pure in heart shall see God--- after taking the time through prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit, God has removed the clutter from their old, calloused heart and given them a new heart of flesh. We can then respond to the call of God, see His world anew, and have a soft heart to see Him and serve Him. The impure things that we once partook of now stand out glaringly--- we can see them for what they are. The heart is no longer calloused and blinded to them, but sees these sins for what they are---darkness that blocks the pure light of God into our hearts. A lot of focus is put on keeping our children pure, but so often we turn the corner only to ingest something that is of impure quality ourselves. Adults aren't to let our hearts and minds go---we are to have the pure heart and mind of a child and guard our purity as closely as we guard our children's.

"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh..." Ezekial 11:19

Scripture is always a good filter to sift things through on our journey to more purity in our lives. It tells us what is holy and pure to God, and the way of life to follow to have a renewed heart. Most likely God will require of us to give up things not good for us, but He will fill us with Himself and the things we give up will seem petty and trivial. The desire to take on the impure clutter will wane with time because our new heart has changed desires. The Bible is clear what we are to think on and "digest" in ourselves, and we are not to dwell on or give much time in our lives to that which is not pure and fitting to God's standards.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

Let us give up what callouses us, what makes our life dark or filled with grief and strife--- instead of searching after what will not satisfy and always leave us hungry for more, may we search and strive after God, who is pure and will fill us with living water. This world will never lead us to purity, but when we seek God's face, He will.

"But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19

 "The pure in heart are blessed because they will see God. Although this will not be ultimately true until the new heaven and earth, yet it is also true even now. Our perception of God and his ways, as well as our fellowship with him, depends on our purity of heart. The visio Dei—what an incentive to purity."
D. A. Carson, The Sermon on the Mount

"Now 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."
Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount

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