8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5, 8)
Yes, in the above verses Lord Jesus says; blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. In other words; if your heart is pure, you are blessed; because you will see God. Apostle Paul also says the same thing in the following verse.
We all have the desire to see God and to live with HIM and in HIM. But remember, Lord Jesus is not talking about seeing God with our physical eyes, in this context, I think, what he means is – experiencing God in our lives and living in HIM.
But there is a question – Why Lord Jesus is linking purity of heart with seeing God? The answer is:
Purity of heart is the core of our relationship with Christ. His Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a heart that is not pure or holy. We worship a God who is eternally Holy and we are His handiwork – created in His image and likeness. Just like our earthly fathers desire us to be like them, our Heavenly Father also desires us to be like HIM; in other words, he wants us to be holy as He is holy.
The Importance of a Pure Heart.
However, being holy or living holy begins from the heart; if our heart is not pure, we can’t live holy lives as the Word of God commands. Because all issues related to life begins from the heart.
In Matthew 15, Lord Jesus talks about the issues of the society, many of the ills we see in the society, whether it is in the ancient times or in modern times, springs up from an impure heart. See the verses below.
18But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. (Matthew 15, 17-18)
These are the verses of Lord Jesus himself. HE identified the problems and found those problems to be originating from an impure heart; that is the reason why he talks about the purity of heart. The core of many of His sermons were the “purity of heart”.
In Psalm 24 David writes about purity of heart. See the verses below.
In verse 4 David says: Only the ones with a pure heart and clean hands can ascend to the mountain of the LORD. David understood very well the importance of having a pure heart. Even from his childhood, David maintained a pure heart, that is why God chose him to be the King of Israel. When God was looking for a man to replace Saul as the king of Israel, HE found David to be the right choice; because, he had a pure heart. See the verses below.
7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16, 7)
But this does not mean that David was completely pure in his heart throughout his life. No, at certain times in his life, David really did some horrible things; but the difference was – he repented and turned away from those sins.
David was honest with God, each time when he committed a sin, he acknowledged those sins before God, he did not hide them and pretended to be righteous. Integrity of heart was very important for David and that is why God calls him “a man after my own heart”.
Though David occasionally committed sins that displeased God, he still understood the importance of maintaining a pure heart and he always prayed for a pure heart; the verse below is an example for this.
Some of the Scriptures that Specifically Address the Issue of Purity of Heart.
Next, we are going to examine some of the scriptures that specifically talks about the issue of purity of heart. As you know, Jesus was more concerned about the inner purity of a person than his outward appearance and HE addressed this issue of inward purity in many of HIS sermons. See one of the examples below in Matthew 12.
33“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12, 33-37)
In the above verses Lord Jesus says; mouth speaks what the heart is full of; that means – what comes out of the mouth is the overflow of your heart. A good man, whose heart is pure stores up good things in his heart and a bad man with an impure heart stores up bad things in his heart. Both brings out what is stored up in their hearts.
Furthermore, in the above verses Jesus warns us that; In the day of judgment we will be judged according to our own words. Therefore, keeping our hearts pure is of paramount importance, because our words reflect the state of our hearts.
The early church also had their share of issues similar to the ones that Lord Jesus confronted during his time on earth. An example for this can be found in the letter that Apostle James wrote. The verses are given below.
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4You adulterous people, a don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us b ? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” c
7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4, 1-10)
Fights and quarrels among believers were common in the early church too; and Apostle James is confronting those issues in his letter. He had concluded that the issues in the congregations were the result of evil desires dwelling in the hearts of the believers.
Though people were calling themselves born-again believers in Christ, they were still double minded – longing for the pleasures of this perishable world while claiming to be the citizens of the Kingdom of God. That is why Apostle James is warning those believers by reminding them that “Friendship with the world is enmity with God”.
Finally, in verse 8 the Apostle is asking believers to come near to God by washing their hands and purifying their hearts which also confirm the fact that: we could go near to God Almighty only by purifying our hearts; if our hearts are unclean we won’t be able to stand in his presence.
Again, let us take a few more examples of scriptures that deals with the issue of Purity of Heart.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ e 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.( Matthew 5, 27-28)
As per the seventh commandment – a person commits adultery only when he engages himself in a physical sexual relationship; this is our common understanding. But Jesus says abstaining from unlawful sexual relationship should begin from your heart. Because he knew; many of the people who keeps the seventh commandment still commits adultery in their hearts by lusting after women who are not their wives.
Here, the heart is impure though their hands are clean. By magnifying the seventh commandment, Lord Jesus stresses the importance of maintaining the purity of hearts. We might think, the old Testament believers were not aware of this truth but that is not correct, In Old Testament times too people knew about this very well. For example, Job says:
Now it is clear that our hearts have to be pure in order for our hands to be clean. You may not steal anything from anyone but if you covet something that belongs to your neighbor, you are breaking the 10th commandment. Because the commandment says:
21“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5, 21)
As you see, the issue here begins from the heart, the sin is committed in the heart. So, this also shows the importance of keeping our hearts pure.
When we examine the gospels, we could find that the main reason for Jesus confronting the pharisees was their hypocrisy – that is; outwardly they appeared to be holy; their words and deeds were in line with the Scriptures. They appeared to be holy and devout before the public. However, their hearts were very evil, their hearts were not pure; they had a secret way of life that was completely in opposition to the Word of God that they preached. That is why Jesus calls them Hypocrites.
25“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. (Matthew 23, 25-26)
However, Pharisees are not just an exception, we could find the same hypocritical lifestyle among contemporary born-again believers too. Many of them keep the commandments and are active in various ministries for the kingdom of God, but their hearts are not pure.
Like the pharisees, they don’t break the commandments in deeds but in their hearts, they still love to enjoy the pleasures of this perishable world. They don’t steal anything from their neighbour, but they still covet things that belong to their neighbour. They don’t commit adultery in the literal sense, but they still look at women with lust and commit adultery in their hearts. If you don’t believe what I am saying, please check the link below: The information will shock you.
What Makes Our Hearts Impure?
So far, we have examined some of the Scriptures that talks about the importance of maintaining purity of heart and we have come to the conclusion that – a pure heart is more important than good deeds. But, in order to keep our hearts pure, we also need to know the things that make our hearts impure. So, next, we will be discussing some of those things.
Yes, pride is one of the most dangerous attitudes that a person can have. It not only makes your heart impure but also hinders the flow of God’s blessings into your life. The Holy Spirit will not dwell in a person with a heart full of pride, because God hates the proud.
5In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5, 5).
Therefore, if you are a child of God and want to accomplish great things in life with the power of God Almighty, you need to be humble. Pride ruins your heart and it will lead you in the path of destruction. So, say goodbye to pride.
Remember, everything you have is – What the LORD has given you and everything you have accomplished – The LORD has done for you. So be humble in your heart.
Yes, spirit of jealousy will make your heart impure. There is no one in the world who never feels jealousy towards someone. We all struggle with this issue and we often fail to tame this spirit of jealousy. Even after we become born-again believers, we still struggle with this spirit of jealousy.
The source of Jealousy is our desire to have the things that others have and when those desires are not fulfilled, we start feeling jealousy. This spirit of jealousy is not something that is harmless, it is not just an emotion. If we don’t tame this spirit; it can lead us into many sins. Many of the fights and quarrels that we see around us spring up from this spirit of jealousy.
1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4, 1-3)
Therefore, keeping Jealousy away from your heart is very important for your walk with Christ.
The spirit of lust has led to the downfall of many great men in the history of the church. Even now, the main cause of so much sexual immorality and divorce in the church is this spirit of lust. Lust is something we all struggle with often. However, as a born-again believer, if we allow this spirit of lust dominate our lives and occupy our hearts, it will ruin both our spiritual and social life and may lead us into the path of eternal destruction.
A heart that entertain lust is the playground of Satan and the Spirit of the LORD will not dwell in it. So, keeping the spirit of lust out of our life is very important for keeping our hearts clean.
Yes, selfishness has ruined many Christian lives. A selfish heart always thinks about its own interests. It never cares about others or share anything with others. This spirit of selfishness is very cunning and it occupies our hearts in a very subtle manner.
We could find many selfish people within the walls of our churches, and they include both sheep and the shepherds. They talk for endless hours about caring and giving, but they, themselves, will not move a finger or give a dime to help others.
These people care only for themselves and expect everybody under the sun to care for them. In reality, a selfish, self-centered heart has no room for the Spirit of the LORD and it makes our hearts impure. If you claim to be a disciple of Christ, you need to clean your heart of selfishness.
Yes, a lying tongue is the reflection of an impure heart. Of course, we all tell lies or give false testimonies at some point in our lives. But, as a born-again believer, we cannot entertain this spirit of dishonesty in our lives. Because God hates a lying tongue.
Whether it is in our personal lives or in business dealings, we need to be honest. The word of God says: Satan is a liar and he is also the father of lies. So, who do we, believers in Christ, should imitate in our lives? Christ or Satan?
16There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.(Proverbs 6, 16-19)
It is true that occasionally we might face situations that might force us to tell lies or be dishonest in our dealings with others; but if such things happen, you should repent and turn away from it immediately; you should not let that spirit of dishonesty dwell in your heart and ruin your relationship with Christ.
The Spirit of Greed is something that we all are familiar with; in fact, many of us even harbor it in our hearts. However, we don’t take this spirit very seriously and many even think – it is just a harmless emotion that can be kept under control at our will. Unfortunately, this is not true.
So, what is greed? it is a very strong desire for money, fame, power, compliments and attention.
This spirit of greed is also very cunning and it operates in the lives of many saints in a very subtle manner. Many shepherds have fallen from the Grace and favor of God by entertaining this spirit of greed.
Once greed occupies a heart, it devours the life of that person in an unrelenting manner. The more he gets, the more he desires and it never rests until it completely destroys that individual’s life.
See what the Word of God says about greed. Many of the fights and quarrels that we see among many shepherds today are the work of this spirit of greed operating in their hearts.
“So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.” (Proverbs 1:19)
“In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 22:12)
The greed for power, money and fame has divided and ruined many ministries. So, it is extremely important that we keep this spirit of greed away from our lives. Remember, a heart that is pure and holy will not allow this spirit of greed to dwell in it.
This is yet another area that can make your heart impure. Harboring anger or unforgiveness against someone can be very toxic to the health of your body and soul. A heart that is filled with hatred and unforgiveness will be an unclean domain and the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in such hearts.
Unforgiveness will stand in the way of your relationship with God. Just as God forgave us unconditionally, we too need to forgive those who have offended or harmed us. This is a commandment and we need to obey it.
14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.(Matthew 6, 14-15)
Of course, this is an area that many of us, including myself often struggle. However, the Grace of God is sufficient for us to overcome this barrier and set things right with both God and Man. Offering forgiveness for someone is a sweet gift and it brings more blessings on ourselves than on the ones who receive that gift.
Unforgiveness is an emotion that affects both your soul and body and when that toxic emotion is removed from your heart; it brings complete healing on yourself.
Definitely this is one of the most important issues that we have to look into when it comes to keeping our hearts pure. Disobedience to God’s commandments is nothing but rebellion and it ruins our relationship with God. No matter how much time you devote in God’s work, if willful disobedience rules your heart, then, your good deeds and the ministry work will not please God.
God is looking for an obedient heart, obedience that springs from your love for God. See what LORD says to King Saul regarding obedience.
22But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. (1 Samuel 15, 22-23)
The Best Way to Keep Your Heart Pure.
Well, now we have already discussed in detail this topic of Purity of heart but many of you might still think that; keeping your hearts pure is a big challenge. Yes, it is true but does that mean – it is impossible? No. If we’re willing and obedient, God, by HIS GRACE, will give us the power to keep our hearts pure.
Saints, please remember once you had a very pure heart when you were a child, but as you grew up you lost that purity. Again, if you want to regain it, you need to become like children. If you observe the kids in your family, you will get a clear idea about how to be pure in heart. But for this to happen – first you need to shed your ego and selfishness.
Jesus was well aware of the complexity of human heart and the challenges that people faced regarding the purity of heart and he offered a very simple solution for them: Be like Children. Read the verses below.
15And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. (Luke 18, 15-17)
In the above verses, we see people bringing little children to Jesus and He blesses them and says: The Kingdom of God belong to the ones such as these.
Furthermore, HE also tells the audience that adults need to receive the kingdom of God with the innocence of a Child. In other words – you will not enter the kingdom of God; if your heart is not as pure as a child’s heart. Here, I would like to call your attention again to the following verse:
As I mentioned earlier, the above verse says: Only the pure in heart will see God. So, here too the condition Lord Jesus put forward for entering the Kingdom of God is same as the one we saw in Luke 18, 15-17; i.e. we need to be like children.
Of course, you might think this is impossible. Yes, as long as you love the pleasures of this perishable world, it will be impossible. Remember, you cannot love the world and God with the same heart. See what Apostle James says about this:
Well, I think I have covered some of the most important points regarding the topic of Purity of Heart. However, there are still a few more points which I might discuss in another article.
As you know, we all are fallen human beings living in a fallen world. We interact with flesh and blood on a daily basis. We all have our weaknesses and we all struggle in one way or the other in our spiritual walk.
Of course, We do have the sincere desire to follow Christ wholeheartedly, but in many occasions, we fail and repeat the same mistakes. However, there is no need for us to lose heart, each time when we fall, as David did, get up, repent and continue the journey.
Sanctification is a life-long process and we are being sanctified on a daily basis and it will continue as long as we hold on to our faith. The one who called us is faithful and HE will carry us ahead. It is not on our merits but on HIS GRACE. Amen.