For the Pure in Heart | Happy’ness
Monday— “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
“It was hardcore. Hottest babes I’ve ever seen,” Trevor growled and his coworkers laughed. “You want hardcore?” Jim added. “Have you seen—Oh, hey Alec.” Alec handed Jim a file. “You guys talking about the game last night?” he asked. “Man, that third quarter—” Trevor smacked him on the arm. “Not that kind of game, little man.” The guys laughed again and Jim lowered his voice. “No Wally, Trev’s talking about a hot new show. Start over, Trev.” Alec held up a hand. “Hey, sorry. Count me out. Tryin’ to stay faithful to Emmy and my kids. That stuff takes me where I don’t wanna go. Catch you guys later.”
As Alec walked away, he heard the mocking laughter behind him and knew what they were saying: “He’s a prude. Thinks he’s better than we are.” Was that it, or did Alec have a higher goal? It’s easy to be swept along in smut, anger, or gossip because one tap on a smartphone opens a world so vile Satan blushes. Filthy images, hostile dialogues, and the celebration of perversions are as common as weeds in our yard. But to go against culture, against our friends, and against our own lusts takes courage. We have to swim upstream to be pure in heart. The world won’t applaud, but God is searching for people who are swimming His direction and He issues them invitations to His VIP club. In this club, He draws near. We get to hear His whisper, enjoy His company, receive His guidance, and avoid the traps set by our enemy. It’s worth it to stay pure in heart.
Final Thought: How are you safeguarding the purity of your heart? Without it, you won’t see God.
Prayer: Father, I’m not guarding the purity of my heart as closely as I need to. Deception, perversion, and violence are everywhere and it becomes part of me without my realizing it. Purify my heart and help me start over. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Horace owned a carpet-cleaning business and he was training a new employee. He drove the kid to a mansion with white carpets and said he’d be back in an hour. When he returned, the kid was waiting for him. Horace strolled through the home, checking the kid’s work. In the middle of the living room floor, a dark stain caught his eye. He walked to it, then called the kid over, waiting until the kid’s toes touched the stain. Then he asked, “What’s that?” The kid gulped and hung his head. “It’s dirt, sir,” he answered. Horace clapped him on the back and smiled. “Good! Now we can work together.”
Horace explained to him later. “I can deal with mistakes, but what I won’t tolerate is denial. As long as you and I agree about dirt, I can train you to do a better job. But if you had argued or made excuses, I’d have fired you on the spot.” God points to an area in our lives and says, “What’s that?” Until we agree with Him about it, we won’t get anywhere. But if we’ll confess, “It’s sin, Lord,” He replies, “Good! Now we can work together.” The only way God can create in us a clean heart is if we admit ours is filthy. No excuses, denials, or laziness. If we want to see God, we have to first see what’s in the way. It’s our sin and He’s offered to get rid of it, but we have to first agree we want it gone. Only then can He train us to do a better job.
Final Thought: To be pure in heart means we live in a state of ongoing repentance.
Prayer: Father, I’ve made excuses about my sin or refused to agree with you about it. I called it something else, but I can’t move ahead with you if I don’t admit what it is. So I do. ________ is sin and I’m ready to clean it up. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Wednesday— Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5
“What in the world…?” John scratched his head as he studied Fred’s new house. “You put the walls on bare dirt and the foundation on the roof? How do you…what…how can you…?” Fred smiled modestly. “Well, I got to thinking. The foundation is so important in a house, maybe it should be on top, you know, to show how valuable it is.” John shook his head. “Fred, I worry about you. I’ll ask Sue to get the guest room ready for you and Millie when you finally realize this won’t work.”
It also won’t work when we try to get right with God by doing righteous deeds. We’re putting the foundation on the roof. Purity of heart is an essential part of being a Christian, but it’s NOT the foundation. It’s the result of a good foundation. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He pours the foundation by declaring us righteous. Upon that foundation, we then pursue holiness and godly actions because our hearts have been changed. It’s like a mathematical formula:
Saving faith + receiving God’s grace = repentance + righteous actions. If we get the factors out of order, we won’t get the right answer. Purity of heart is the product of a life that is resting on a solid foundation.
Final Thought: Only when our foundation is faith in the finished work of Christ can we become pure in heart.
Prayer: Father, I often struggle with feeling I have to do more to impress you. But your word says it’s Jesus who makes me right with you, not my efforts. I want to be pure in heart as a way to thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24:3-4
Rover raced toward the house, tongue lolling, saliva drooling. That skunk had put up one heck of a fight, but Rover gave up, rolled in the grass, and was ready for his bed in front of the fireplace. But instead of a happy welcome, Farmer Roy met him at the door with a few choice words, snapped the chain on his collar, and hauled him to the barn where he underwent bath after bath and a scrubbing so hard it took some fur off. Instead of his bed by the fire, he was relegated to hay in the barn for the night. He thought he’d done a fine job of getting rid of the skunk smell, but his owner had a different standard.
We do the same thing with God. We play around with sin and then try to clean ourselves up, expecting God to accept our skunk smell. But He has a different standard: clean hands and a pure heart and none of us can achieve that on our own. If we want to stand in the presence of God, we must first be cleansed by the blood of His Son. Our sin nature has to be crucified. That doesn’t mean we never sin again, but 1 John 3:4-10 is clear that a real Christian doesn’t live there. Sin in a Christian’s heart is like a skunk smell. It’s so noxious we have to get rid of it. Then we’re on guard against skunks. We keep clean hands and a pure heart by confessing and forsaking sin and by participating with God as He cleans us to His standard.
Final Thought: If we want to live with clean hands and a pure heart, we must let God clean us to His standard.
Prayer: Father, I want to live with clean hands and a pure heart. I want my choices and my motives to meet your standard. Thank you for forgiveness, mercy, and the cleansing blood of Jesus that makes me fit for your presence. In His name, amen.
Friday— …walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work… Colossians 1:10
“Houston, we have a problem.” In an effort to balance the harsh legalism of the past, Christianity’s pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Modern Christendom is trying to outdo itself by assuring everyone that all sin is the same and nobody’s perfect, so don’t worry about it. The predominant message seems to be: “Hey, we’re all sinners, but if you’ve prayed the prayer, then grace covers everything and God is tickled with you no matter what you’re doing.” However, it’s hard to study the Bible and come away with that idea. It’s just not there. Grace DOES cover everything, but it also matters what we do next.
If we’ve accepted God’s grace, then we’re urged to “walk in a manner worthy of Him.” That means being pure in heart. Imagine that you were a millionaire and you’d kept your fortune invested in Company A. You checked your stocks regularly and thought about new ways you could invest with them. Then you learned Company A was crooked and about to go bankrupt, so you switched everything to Company B just in time. Now your whole focus is on Company B. You find new ways to invest with them and you watch your portfolio grow. Following Jesus means we’ve switched our treasure from Company A to Company B so that’s where our focus belongs. Our choices, our attitudes, and our desires reflect where our treasure is.
Final Thought: To be pure in heart is to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in good works.
Prayer: Father, thank you that I don’t have to try to earn your forgiveness or your love. But I want to walk in a manner worthy of you, pleasing you in everything, and bearing fruit. I choose being pure in heart as my investment. In Jesus’ name, amen.