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Devotional: September 28, 2020

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’

         Matthew 5:8      NRSV

Some of Jesus’ Beatitudes concern our outward situation, or our actions. “Blessed are those who mourn”, “Blessed are the merciful”, or “Blessed are the meek” come to mind.

However, this Beatitude focuses upon our inner life: our heart. It is true that Jesus cares about our actions. Yet more than anything, He wants to re-make and renew our heart.

We all know that purity is important. Something which is impure can be very harmful. Spoiled food, water or medication can lead to terrible sickness, and even death. 

How does one have a pure heart?  There may not be a single formula which works for everyone, in all situations, but I would encourage you to do three things: 

First, pray for a pure heart.

Recognizing that a divided heart or a distracted heart are less than ideal, pray for your heart to be clean and pure. Even if our hearts are not pure right now, God will still hear our prayers. To repeat what one man said to Jesus, “Lord, help me with my unbelief!” Jesus saw that the man’s desire was sincere, and that he wanted to have his heart purified. Jesus was able to help the man, and He will help us. Like this man, we must come to Jesus with a sincere and open heart, and with a willingness to follow His direction. 

Second, avoid situations which lead to sin, and flee from sin when you find yourself in a tempting situation.

Remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife? You might remember that she was trying to seduce him! (Genesis 39) What did Joseph do? He ran away, as fast as he could! That is not a bad technique when we are striving for a pure heart. Others may try and lead us in the wrong direction, but God has given us awareness to discern and identify sin. We must listen to that inner voice. More often than not, it is the Lord speaking to us.

We know that sin blinds and constrains us. Sometimes, we even describe a person caught up in negative situations and desires as being “blinded by their sin.” Unchecked sin often stems from an impure heart, and it does blind us to God, and God’s truth.

Third, fill up your heart, and your life with positive influences.

There is some truth to the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” If we are involved in positive activities, they will crowd out the negative things we might be doing otherwise. I am also reminded of the saying, “garbage in, garbage out”.  What we fill our lives with, can either cause us towards God, or away from Him. Therefore, emphasize the positive. The positive influence of Christ may be why one Christian radio station brands itself as “Positive Life Radio.” The positive helps crowd out the negative.

The promise given in this Beatitude is truly amazing: we are offered the opportunity to see God! In some ways, this promise should not come as a surprise to us. It is a wonderful promise, that those with a pure heart will see God. The Lord wants to save us from the sin which blinds us. He wants to do more than minimize such sin. He wants to erase it from our lives, completely. Therefore, pray for purity of heart. Remind yourself that an audience with the almighty awaits all those with pure hearts.

Psalm 51 is a prayer for a pure heart. This psalm prayer was offered by King David after he fell into sin with Bathsheba. He prays to God, 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”       Psalm 51: 10-12

These verses have been set to music, in the praise song, “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God,” by the late composer and singer Keith Green.

May this song be our prayer to the Lord today:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God And renew a right spirit within me Create in me a clean heart, O God And renew a right spirit within me Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me Restore unto me, the joy of Thy salvation And renew a right spirit within me.”

Here is the YouTube link to Keith Green leading people in singing this song:

Keith Green: Create in me a Clean Heart Create in me a Clean Heart oh Lord my God! www.youtube.com


Amen.


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