Pure In Heart
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Matthew 5:8).
In today’s world, many people are capable of very godly actions that are completely motivated by impure thoughts or motives, which ultimately results in personal gain or recognition of some kind. God is seeking those who delight in pleasing Him rather than themselves – believers whose actions are a direct result of the motivations of a pure heart. Would you like to see your family blessed by God, and completely characterized by purity of heart, so that the Lord is honored and glorified in every thought, word and action? As we examine the perfect Word of God, we will look at ways your household can focus upon developing pure hearts, and make clear the blessing of the promised reward – seeing God. The Father has work for His people to do…and the pure in heart will be the ones to truly grasp the depth of His desires.
We must understand the significance of our hearts to God. The condition of our hearts is of primary importance to the Lord: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). In Biblical terms, the heart is considered to be the center of our very being. It includes our minds, our will and our emotions. It is everything that makes us who we are! So, when Jesus stated, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," I believe He means that we must allow Him full access to everything that we are, so that He can clean and purify us from the inside out. Only then will we have the ability to see what God is doing around us, and yield ourselves to be used for His glory.
Hearts that are impure with the burden and consequences of sin are not yet free to see God. Those with impure thoughts or motives are capable of carrying out acts of godliness… however, they will not be blessed by God until their actions are done to please Him instead of themselves. Here are some action points for your family to study and put into practice as you seek to understand how God looks at our hearts:
• Ask your children, "When you want to know what someone is like, what is the best way to find out? Can you tell a lot about a person by the way he or she looks?" After you get their responses, read this passage together: "…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b). Ask, "How do you look at someone’s heart?" Hint: Remember that our hearts include our minds, our wills and our emotions.
Ask each family member to picture the condition of his heart at the moment. You may wish to have them draw a heart. Ask them to color in the heart with the amount of space that is not pure and leave white space for the amount they feel is already pure. Tell them to be very honest, and that they won’t have to show their picture to anyone else unless they wish to. Each member of your family will have a powerful picture of where he or she feels his or her heart is in terms of becoming pure before God. Tell them that as they grow in purity, they will want to draw new pictures, with a goal of having a completely pure heart.
Now pray together, asking the Father to give you hearts that are pure. Psalm 51:10 is a wonderful prayer: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Explain that in this prayer, you are asking God to create a brand new heart, which only He can do. He has done this for us through Jesus. When our sins have been forgiven, we can have clean hands and pure hearts. "Who can say, I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin" (Proverbs 20:9)? God cannot accomplish His will through dirty, impure vessels. He can always work through us when we are weak or damaged…but not when we are polluted by the impurities caused by sin.
• Read this passage together: "Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob" (Psalm 24:3-6).
Talk about this passage together. Ask your family, "What does it mean to lift up your soul to an idol? Discuss some of the idols that may be in your lives…or even in your home. Examples may be TV, computers, video games, work, sports, etc. Ask, "What does it mean to swear by what is false?" Talk about some of the lies that our culture tries to make us believe are true. This is a good time to talk about sin issues and how sin can keep us from having pure hearts. Be sure to share with your family the importance of dealing with sin through confession and repentance.
• Discuss how the passage says that those who have a pure heart will receive a blessing from the Lord, just as it says in Matthew 5:8. Talk about what it means to be a generation of those who seek the face of God with pure hearts. Ask, "How do you seek the face of God?" Discuss how this means that we are to be faithful in prayer. Lead your family in prayer: "Father, we want to be the generation You are talking about – the one that seeks Your face with pure hearts. Show us how to make our hearts pure."
We must understand the significance of seeking the Lord with pure hearts. We read in Psalm 24:6 that the generation that seeks God with pure hearts will receive blessing from Him. The Lord has plans for us to worship and serve Him that we can only know through the intimate connection of prayer from hearts that are pure.
• Read this passage together as a family: "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22). Ask, "What are the evil desires of youth? After your family has an opportunity to respond, talk about how the evil desires can be overcome. Discuss how those who have pure hearts will flee from the evil desires and go after righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Remind them that a pure heart includes their attitudes and motives. Even if they do good things for the wrong reasons, the Lord will know: "…and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts" (1 Chronicles 28:9).
• Ask each family member to share one thing that he or she has done that was good, but was done with the wrong motive (example: making the bed of a sibling to get that brother or sister to give you something you want. Explain how the action might have been good, but it wasn’t done to please God, but for selfish gain). Prayer: Ask each family member to reveal at least one thing that needs to be overcome so that he or she can seek the Lord in prayer with a pure heart. Pray for one another to be able to conquer these difficulties.
We must understand the significance of seeing God. When our minds, mouths, actions, motives, etc. are purified, God promises a blessing…that we will see God. All of us, as Christians, want to see where God is going and what He is doing. It’s just a natural desire because we know He holds us, our families, and the circumstances of our lives in the palm of His hand. God has plans and purposes that are known only to Him because they are too amazing and too big for us to comprehend: "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty" (Job 11:7)?
Sometimes, however, He chooses to reveal certain things to us so that we can learn how to live lives that are pleasing to Him: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). After the Father has created new, purified hearts in us, He will allow us to see more of what He is up to, and show us how we can be a part of what He is doing. How can anything be more exciting than this? If we truly want to see God working all around us…we must first yield our hearts to His molding process. Such a process is only possible when we are willing. God cannot purify hearts that are not seeking to be cleansed. It is important to teach our families not to miss the fullness of the opportunities God lays before us and to see Him working around us because we can’t or won’t allow the process of purification to take place.
Our gracious Father has wonderful plans for us: "But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations" (Psalm 33:11). What are the purposes of His heart that involve us, our children, and our children’s children? I believe His intentions for us are clearly revealed in Jeremiah 29:11-13: "For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart."
• Ask your family what they think it means to "see" God. After everyone shares, see if anyone has mentioned seeing what God is doing around them, instead of what God may "look" like. Explain that we cannot physically "see" God because He is too amazing to look at…and that we will not have that opportunity this side of heaven.
• Ask your family why it would be a blessing to "see" God. What do they think they would do differently if they could see Him? Would they want to do what He is doing? Would they spend more time worshiping Him? Talk about what your responses would be with this blessed access to God.
Here are some additional passages to read, study and pray through as your family seeks to become pure in heart:
1 Thessalonians 2:4 – "We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."
Proverbs 22:11 – "He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend."
1 Timothy 1:5 – "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
As we seek to please the heart of the Father, we need to be a people concerned about the condition of our hearts. The promised blessing after we have allowed the Lord to clean up our inside world, is that He will begin to allow us to see Him working in our outside world. Make this passage from Psalm 139:23-24 be a daily prayer for your family: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."