“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8
A simple faith. That is exactly what Jesus has made available for us. When He came on the scene in the first century, the Jewish faith was anything but simple. The experts in the law and other religious leaders had made faith in God a tedious and intricate system of performance-based rules and regulations. Everywhere you turned, you were judged by what other people saw. If you did something good for someone else that required a little effort on the Sabbath you were brought before the judges to receive your penalty. If you didn’t wash your hands properly the “clean police” would come and pick you up. Ok, so I might be exaggerating a bit. But not much. These are two laws the Pharisees accused Jesus and His disciples of breaking. Jesus’ response? It’s not our performance or behavior that gains the favor of God. It’s a matter of the heart instead.
A life that is blessed by God is not based on performance or rule-keeping. Being accepted and blessed by God is a matter of internal transformation. It is a transformation from within that manifests itself without. Living a life that pleases God is simply the outward manifestation of an inward reality. We don’t perform in order to be accepted by God. We perform because He has already accepted us (“to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.”Ephesians 1:6).
We must understand that a life of simple faith is linked to a pure heart. A pure heart is one that is not mixed with anything that is impure. The word “pure” was often used of metals that had been refined until all impurities were removed, leaving only the pure metal. In that sense, purity means unmixed, unalloyed, unadulterated. Applied to the heart, the idea is that of pure motive—of single-mindedness, undivided devotion, spiritual integrity, and true righteousness. If a film were made about someone who lived this kind of completely sincere life in both private and public, there would be no need to edit. You could video that person at church or at home, at work or at play, and you would catch no contradictions.
If we live pure in heart we will live transparently. We would have no guile, no hidden motives. How seldom do any of us even approach anything near that standard. While it is true that we cannot live in pure perfection, this beatitude implies that life can be lived without masks. “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”What does this mean? I believe this means that if we are willing to be honest with how we feel, open with why we do what we do, and sincerely trust God to form in us His life and His will, we will see God work. We will see Him doing awesome things in our lives.
Take off the mask. Quit acting all pious so others will think you’re all that and more. Risk being real. That, by the way, is what God wants. He doesn’t want actors. (For a little review, go back and read Day 17 again.) He wants real people connecting with other real people in real ways. Then, and only then, will we be able to have real community. Those who are hurting will never connect with those who exude an air that they have it all together. Why do you think James said, “Confess your faults one to another”? (James 5:16a) The truth is: none of us have it all together. We simply know the One who does!
Have a Great Day!