Blessed are the Pure in Heart (Part 2 of 3)

hold your heart up before GodOnce we have found a pure heart with God how can we keep it pure?

After the struggle and sacrifice to purge ourself and obtain a pure heart before God, we enter the perpetual challenge to keep it pure! Scripture gives very practical advice on how to stay pure before God, once we have attained “his heart”. In his book, What Every Christian Ought to Know, Pastor Adrian Rodgers explains that our human nature is composed of three different parts: body, soul, and spirit, and that Satan is the expert at knowing how to tempt each one. After all, he’s been doing it since the dawn of man.

John 2:15-17 declares that sin will attack us in each of these three areas:

For everythingSatan attacking in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father, but from the world.”

The lust of the flesh attacks our physical body with our own sinful nature .

The lust of the eyes attacks our soul, the center of our psychological, emotional, and intellectual self, with worldly enticements like power, money, and prestige.

The pride of life attacks our spirit in the arena of our pride and self sufficiency by Satan himself. He enticed Adam and Eve to their fall in exactly this way.

How do we combat these three areas of temptation? The Bible has the answers:

lustAgainst the flesh we are to flee.

Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts,” and in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality.” Our spiritual common sense directs us to get out of tempting environments and to avoid bad ones in the first place. We must be spiritually sensitive to what we look at,Secret sin listen to, read, and in what we absorb ourselves.  Avoidance is the best advise for fleshly temptations. Don’t give your fleshly nature  opportunity to work its cravings on you.

Against the world we must exercise faith.

Lust of the worldAs children of God we will never find real satisfaction from what this world offers and promotes. There is no point searching  in the world to find spiritual satisfaction. 1 John 2:15 tells us, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” God is now the center of our hunger and thirst in this world! Our treasures are not found in this world, but we are preparing them right now for heaven.

arrogant manAgainst the temptations of the spirit we are to fight.

We must depend entirely on Jesus. Don’t permit Satan to create a wedge between you and God by manipulating your pride, bitterness, or persistent grudges toward others. If we think we are religiously okay and following all the spiritual p’s and q’s, this is the exact moment that Satan eases into our complacency to create a sense of spiritual pride that will distance us from God, just as happened with David before he committed his great sin with Bathsheba.

The Bible gives clear counsel in James 4:7-8, “Resist the devil and he will flee, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you!” Get away from Satan, and run to Jesus. He is your rescue.Jesus hands

Anytime we realize what the evil one is about, we must declare, as Jesus did in Matthew 16:22-24, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

To be fully prepared the Word of God, his righteousness, must be ever present in our mind for the Spirit to employ in our thoughts, heart, and will.

holy spirit

“Sin befogs and beclouds the heart so that one cannot see God. Purity clears and clarifies the senses and gives vision to everything,” as Archibald T. Robertson states in Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament.

 pure in heart seek the WordThe Bible assures us that no temptation shall overwhelm us, if we depend upon and look to God. First, Corinthians 10:13 promises, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 

Always look for the way out! Now you know the “Godly exit” from the three temptationslust of the eyes that will attack us in this world. Get away from them, fast!

challenge aheadBut the pure in heart have one other major challenge here on earth– We must maintain transparent relationships with all those around us too! (Part 3)

Blessed are the pure in heart (Part 1)

Beatitudes -5Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

                                                                                                Matthew 5: 8

 

Our Beatitudes Quest brings us to this pivotal point.  We have recognized our spiritual poverty and the supreme greatness of God.  We have released those wearisome burdens to Jesus and now depend completely on him.  We have thrust the mighty “me” into the back seat and Our Savior steers our lives.  We are on a “stay hungry” diet for God’s Word—the Scripture and Our Lord living in us.  Our comprehensionof God’s great mercy gift to us through the sacrificial death of his Son has exponentially expanded.  What can be left for us to experience?  Yet even more awaits us—particularly in this powerful Beatitude!

How True Is Our Heart Before God?

This is the essential question. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, forplease God in all we do everything you do flows from it.” At the end of physical life, after the last pulse of blood through our body, we will find ourselves in the great throne room of God where he will scrutinize our spiritual heart—the true reality of who we are—not merely on the surface to others, but to the very core of our being. Psalms 17:3 states “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.” God continually searches for pure, undefiled hearts that are right toward him.

 refining fire

heart is a locketOur heart houses our values. It is the decision center of right and wrong for us and determines our behavior and how we relate to others. It directs our thought-life and what we dwell on. It empowers our personality and who we are toward others. Our heart dictates the decisions we make in life, both good and bad.

 

In the great throne room of our Creator we will stand “heart naked” and stripped bare to reveal the real, true nature of our being. A pure heart, according to God’s standards, will be found worthy as is declared in Proverbs 16:2, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.judgement seat of Christ

 The Purging Valley of the Pure in Heart

Today we must ask ourselves:  Is my heart truly and completely pure before God?broken hearted

 

 “Pure” (kathros) as used in this Beatitude conveys powerful ideas from the original Greek: a sincerely genuine, innocent, and blameless heart; free from corrupt desire, sin, and guilt; purified by fire, free of defilements of the flesh and of the world; a clear and transparent heart.

A pure heart is solely and wholly committed to one predetermined goal: to please only God in all one thinks, does, and says. That’s an extremely high standard for humans in this sin filled world!

pure heart

We must honestly evaluate our heart by the “kathros” standard!

 

 

Have you ever experienced a surgical procedure?  A massive light was beaming down uponspiritual open heart surgery you.  The Beatitudes require serious “spiritual surgery” on our hearts. God’s pure and intense light will reveal to us any impurities, secret or hidden sin lying encrusted in our heart.  Some sins are too difficult to shed alone—we pretend that they aren’t there, or just keep living with them. Some sins lie dormant and un-confessed from the past, perhaps affecting our attitude toward someone else even until today. Perhaps a sin lies concealed of which you are not even aware, but God will reveal it to you today.  

 Who is our spiritual Public Enemy #1—Our pride—although we put our “mighty me” in the backseat in the Beatitude of Meekness, it’s always attempting to crawl back into the driver’s seat of our emotions and life.my own worst enemy

 

The “Beatitudes Moment” for the Pure In Heart   Today is the day that any and all sin must be removed to yield a pure heart before God.

As you sincerely lay your heart before Our Loving Lord, pray the following:

  •  Lord, please reveal the true condition of my heart to me.  Are there any impurities Put yourself before Godyou, Lord? Please make them known to me! Help me make my heart pure!
  •  Is there any past or present un-confessed sin in my life?  Please give me the courage to admit and confess it before you!
  • Is there any bitterness, resentment, or anger I need to discard?  Lord, immerse me with your forgiving spirit toward that person! 
  • Is there a vice or addiction that won’t let me go? Lord, I call upon your Holy Spirit to remove it from my life! 
  • Lord, if there is some hidden sin of which I am unaware, please reveal it to me! Help me see it through your eyes and lay it before you!

Please reveal to me anything that is separating me from a full relationship with You!

Whatever God reveals to you, you must sincerely confess it to God. Ask him to forgive you and to take control of it and remove it from your heart and life.

 feed the life I'm trying to live

This could (and should) be an intensely emotional experience for anyone who is sincerely serious about purifying their relationship with God.  This is the moment in which we come into true oneness with Him. It isn’t easy—we must turn it all over to God—we cannot take care of it on our own!

Now, enjoy a prayer of thanksgiving with your Lord for his great loving forgiveness andhold your heart up before God cleansing to make you one with him.

 

 In Part 2 we will discover how to maintain that pure heart!

Between the Beatitudes

BETWEEN THE BEATITUDES

Beatitude pix1

Reflecting on the first four Beatitudes:

Consider how the first four Beatitudes have impacted your life and relationship with God. 

 1)   The poor in spirit—do you now feel “richer” spiritually? starry night -5

2)   Those who mourn—have you truly turned all your burdens over to Christ to carry for you? 

crying

 

 

3)   The meek—have you put your “me” in the back seat. Are you now allowing Jesus to “drive” your life? meek-footwashing

 

4)   Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness—Is knowing God now the priority of your lives?  Are you daily “in The Word” (Scripture) and “with the Word” (Jesus Christ)?study the Word

 

 

 

The “who” you are “within” should have experienced a significant transformation by now.  Your relationship with God should now be even stronger with a deeper understanding of the Greatest Commandment—to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.heart language

Four significant experiences still await us, but the previous four Beatitudes have prepared us for what lies ahead. Believe it or not, we still have much to discover within ourselves and to confess to God as we keep increasing in this spiritual sojourn. But even if we were to stop here, our relationship with God would never be the same, not just in comparison to yesterday, but also to tomorrow, because His holy and sacred fellowship will continue to transform every dimension of our life.

Constant” by Charlie Hall

Just like the sunshine, you have been our light, leading us into beautiful places.

We’ve walked through fire, but you’ve made us brighter, leading us into beautiful places.

Faithful Jesus, Healing Savior, Compass, Center, Bread of Life.

God, you are here with us, constantly here with us. You are our everything, faithful and true.

 

Just like the starlight, you shine in the black night, leading us into beautiful places.

Just like the atmosphere, you’ve come to surround us here, leading us into beautiful places.

 Faithful Jesus, Cherished Treasure, Our Portion, Wisdom, God’s Great Light!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness

BEattitudesBlessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.                                                    Matthew 5:6

Three Major Spiritual Distractions Are Now Behind Us!

The three spiritual distractions dealt with in these first three Beatitudes easily deprive many from ever experiencing a full relationship with Our Lord: Battle for the soul

1) Our spiritual pride restraining us from truly comprehending the greatness of God, 2) The burdens we carry and the emotions they produce must be released to Our Lord, 3) Allowing our “mighty “me” to dominate the driver’s seat.

worship in the spiritWhen these three major spiritual distractions are cast aside, there is only one major focus in our life—God!  Our Lord Jesus Christ, God Our Father, and the Holy Spirit each desire to make themselves more fully known to us.  The fourth Beatitude is all about allowing God to fill us with Himself and coming to a greater and growing knowledge of Who He is, what He has done for us, andwhy He had to resort to such a painful price for His only Son.

Righteousness is God’s Word

We are to hunger and thirst after righteousness. How do we define righteousness?—it ispower of love on the cross difficult in English; however in Spanish it is translated as “justice” making it much easier to understand.  This Beatitude leads us to God’s “wavelength” about His exacting standard of holiness and justice. Justice is getting what we DESERVE as sinners. God’s Word also reveals His Mercy—NOT getting what we deserve as sinners.  Yet God even exceeds His own mercy to give us grace—giving us what we DO NOT deserve.  And He voluntarily decided to do to make this possible!  Jesus is the face of grace!

How do we come to this deep knowledge about God? –from His Word.  God opens up our heart and our mind with His Word.

The Written Word

honeyGod’s written Word is the Bible.  The prophet Jeremiah portrays a salivating picture of the Word: “I did find his Word, and I ate them, and found it sweet as honey. Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16)  We must truly and deeply digest the Word of God to find spiritual and emotional nourishment through the “sweetest” investigation. Thus we will fathom the depth and perfection of his holy righteousness and the magnificent treasures freely endowed to us by Jesus Christ.

On the eve of his betrayal, Jesus shared with his disciples in John 14:21, “He who has myWord of God gives light commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will disclose myself to him.” You can’t really come to really know God and Jesus intimately without knowing His Word.  The submission of our hearts to God’s commandments is our primary expression of love to him. And a humble and meek heart is the most responsive to the transforming power of the Word.

Jeus breadShortly after feeding the multitude, Jesus proclaimed in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” As we saturate ourselves in God’s Written Word, and the very Word himself, Jesus Christ, it is revealed even further to us!  The more we discover about righteousness, the more our souls will become enlightened and enlarged to a greater realization of all that Christ has accomplished for us!

There are giant treasure troves of righteousness in God’s written Word and in the Living Christ. From the written Word, lead by the Holy Spirit, we will absorb great spiritual truths. Yet righteousness is also dynamically attained in our daily relationship with Jesus Christ who reveals significant spiritual realities to us in our everyday experiences. We must hunger and thirst after both Words!

Both Words becomes our world from this point forward in our quest through theGod's  Word gives light remaining Beatitudes.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to know God’s justice—those who possess an insatiable appetite for God, not just as he is revealed in the Scriptures, but also to experience him in a deeply personal way each and every day.

Maintain a Stay Hungry Diet

Dine on God's WordJesus promises that this passionate hunger and thirst for goodness and for holiness will be filled. We will not be left disappointed, distraught, or deprived. The result of hungering and thirsting for righteousness is not just being filled, but it is experiencing an overflowing fattening from God’s holiness and goodness.

In the Bible, Jesus declared that his true believers must eat his flesh and drink his blood, signifying the sacrificial price he had to pay for our sin. He desires that we comprehend this great mystery, which will become the principal driving force in our spiritual pilgrimage. Our understanding of Christ’s sacrifice is inextricably linked to the depth of our passion, purpose, and path of life here on earth.Christ on the Cross

We are as baby birds in a nest, straining upward with hearts stretched wide open, starving for heavenly knowledge. Behold, the Word of God comes and fills us, more satisfyingly thanBirds straining for food we ever dreamed possible. We feast upon his Word with an earnest desire and effort to digest each morsel and passage. “He loves those who pursue righteousness” (Proverbs 15:9b).

rich ridge of righteousness, righteousness, Marlin J. Harris, Let the Beatitudes be my attitude in youThe  Rich Ridge of Righteousness

In the Land of Beatitudes, after having “submitted “ ourselves to the peaks of the Mirrored Mountains, we now encounter a ridge leading up to even higher ground. We proceed upward along the Ridge of Righteousness where a virtual smorgasbord of spiritual fruits lines our path. We discover that each delicacy is an already familiar verse, but we have never tasted and experienced it to its true fullness and meaning. Towering trees also abound, heavily laden and inviting our indulgence. A crystal-clear stream runs through as well, offering eternal refreshment.

Be constant in your desire to understand the Word. Blessed are those who daily delve into it with a desperate desire to know him more deeply. They will!

Thoughts for meditation:

  • What attribute of God’s righteousness has He revealed to you today?
  • How has God’s Word changed your life today?