In the book of Matthew, Jesus brought to us some principles on how the Kingdom of God operates and how we, as Christians ought to live in what has become known as the “Beatitudes”. In particular, there were eight blessings that He spoke would happen to us as if we followed these teachings known also as the Sermon on the Mount. One of those blessings that Jesus spoke was the following:
Matthew 5:8 – NKJV – Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Another translation, the Amplified Classic Bible puts it like this:
Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
But what exactly does it mean to have a pure heart? And how do the pure in heart “see” God? One thing is to understand what exactly the Scripture means by our “heart”. It’s not necessarily talking about our physical heart, but the very center, or core of our being. Our very “soul”, inward person or, as many believe, including myself, it is the combination of the spirit and soul of a person that makes up the heart. It is the seat of our very affections and emotions.
We can be sure that God is concerned with the condition of our heart. The Bible says concerning this:
Proverbs 4:23 – NLT – Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Why is it so important that we guard our hearts? Of all things, we must realize that our hearts
Ken West Jr. is a former Long Islander now living in Broadway, VA with his wife Joni. Married 30 + years, they have 4 children; Kenny III, Rachel, Joseph and Gloria. Ken has been working in Information Technologies for over 35 years, is an author and loves to read and write. He and his wife Joni are also very active with their church, Cornerstone Church of Broadway. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org be anything but pure. When dealing with some religious Pharisees and Sadducees in His day concerning their concern over His disciples not washing their hands ceremonially before they ate food as was their tradition, Jesus made it very clear to them that defilement was not just outward, but more the inward condition of the heart. Here’s how he responded:
Matthew 15:18-20 – NLT – But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”
Apparently, what comes out of the heart—the very core of our being, can defile us, or can determine the course of our lives which brings a greater understanding of why we must be diligent to guard our hearts as stated in Proverbs chapter 4:23. The human heart can be inclined to many things. It can be deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), honest and good (Luke 8:15), can fully love the Lord (Mark 12:30), be peaceful (Proverbs 14:30), can be weighed under (Proverbs12:25), can be joyful and sad (Proverbs 15:13), can be troubled (John 14:1) can be darkened (Romans 1:21), can be steadfast and confident in God (Psalm 57:7), and the list goes on. But one thing that makes a big difference in how we relate to our heart is “renewed heart”. The promise of the New Covenant was prophesied in the days of Jeremiah (31:33) and Ezekiel (36:26) and repeated in the NT book of Hebrews (8:10) that the day would come when the Lord would put a “new spirit” within us. That was fulfilled with the atoning work that Jesus did on the Cross of Calvary.
John 3:16 – NKJV – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection provided not only atonement for our sins, but the free gift of salvation and the guarantee of spending eternity with him in Heaven and in the world to come. Moreover, we can now experience the promise of the infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38;Ephesians 5:18) which comes from having a genuine “born-again” experience. It is the “born-again” experience that gives you a “new heart” as promised.
John 3:3-7 – NKJV – Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
With a heart that has been “born-again”, as a Christian, you now have the capacity to fellowship with God and the power to be transformed by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to live a life that is pleasing to Him. But even then, we must still guard our hearts as the following Scripture says:
2 Timothy 1:14 – NLT – Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.
We do have an enemy, the devil, who prowls about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour
1 Peter 5:8 – NLT – Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
By guarding our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit, this helps us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23), which produces godly, moral character pleasing to God and thus, aligning our hearts according to Scripture:
Psalms 24:3-4 – NKJV – Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
It is those, who, though not “perfect”, but constantly strive to guard their hearts and develop a pure heart toward God who will, as Matthew 5:8 says will “see” God. They will be able to perceive the presence of the Lord better, come in to a greater understanding of His ways and have God’s favor upon their lives. And they will always be marked with humility. God will never despise or turn down a humble heart.
Psalms 51:17 – NKJV – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.
So, I encourage all to strive to have a pure heart before the Lord so that you can first and foremost know Him an a greater way and understand His ways, for His ways are not like our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)