Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
He said: …
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
- Matthew 5:1-2, 8
“When the heart is washed, the dirt is taken from the mental eyes. The heart that loves God is connected with an understanding that perceives God. There is no way of seeing God until the heart is renewed by sovereign grace. It is not greatness of intellect but purity of affection that enables us to see God.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, from his sermon notes
“… To put it simply, Adam silently spoke to me about God and God’s friendship in a concrete way.
“First, he taught me that being is more important than doing, that God wants me to be with him and not do all sorts of things to prove I’m valuable.”
- Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction (emphasis the author’s)
Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, educated in Holland after becoming a priest in the archdiocese of Utrecht. He became a noted educator, teaching at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame, but his true education was when he was lured from academia, and he worked in a home for disabled people. The story of Adam is seen only in a glimpse here (another book completely dedicated to what he learned from Adam), but it was Adam, according to Nouwen, who introduced him to God.
I included the Nouwen quote, because the difference in so many wandering souls in the church pews with those who are true believers is that they are doers, in a vain attempt to be, as Nouwen goes on to say in his book, worthy or doing to obtain a sense of self-worth. We can give to every panhandler on the highway, but unless we are pure in heart, our acts will not be rewarded as blessing in Heaven. It is not our doing, but our attitude, our reason for doing, as Nouwen says above, our being.
Are we striving to be more like Jesus because of the reward, the golden crown, or are we striving to be more like Jesus because we know Him. He is our best friend. As a best friend, we want to be more like Him. And as for the striving, it isn’t that hard for the pure in heart. God does the heavy lifting. Our lives may be hard, but when our innermost desire is to be more like Jesus, God shoves a few of the heavy obstacles away and warns us of many others so that we can prove that purity in heart by choosing the path that God has illuminated for us.
Being pure in heart is not being perfect. It is the burning, all-consuming desire to be perfect, like Jesus.
With the inspiration to write a little “Thought on” style message for the “poor in spirit,” I thought that I would continue through the Beatitudes.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.