The Beatitudes and the Condition of our Heart
This makes the sixth post in my series on the beatitudes—a beautiful path to blessings in our lives. We started with what it means to be poor in spirit. Our path of blessed living starts with an attitude, a committed mindset that God is full in spirit and we are poor in spirit. He knows what’s best, we don’t. He is powerful, we aren’t. He is good, we aren’t. He is rich, we are bankrupt. This mindset opens the Kingdom of God to us.
When we realize God is right and we aren’t, we become aware of how often we fall short of His “rightness.” This brings us to a change in our view of ourselves and we mourn for our “falling shortness.” We don’t simply feel bad because we have been caught breaking the rules, and now there is a price to pay. Instead, we mourn because we finally become aware of how much our sin breaks God’s heart, and it eventually begins breaking our own. The blessing is comfort; extraordinarily, God meets the admission of our weaknesses with His comforting grace.
In the third post, I discussed what it means to be meek. This is what happens when we begin following God’s will in our lives instead of our own. We hand over the reins to Jesus and allow Him to be our guide. Jesus has complete control to mold us into what He would have us be. This doesn’t make us weak people, It actually provides us with more strength than we could ever muster on our own.
Then, we looked at what the beatitudes teach us about hungering and thirsting for righteousness. This doesn’t mean we become self-righteous people trying to earn God’s favor in our lives. It means we have finally tasted God’s love for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Once we have experienced this, receiving more of it becomes our greatest desire. Jesus is what we hunger and thirst for, and the blessing we receive is a peaceful satisfaction.
Last week, I discussed what it means to be merciful. Once we realize the great mercy of God that we have received, we can’t help but share this with others. Without the mercy of God, living our lives in a relationship with Jesus Christ isn’t even an option. When we become aware of this, it changes how we respond and react to situations and circumstances in our lives.
This leads us to being pure in heart. We will be looking at Matthew 5:8. I will discuss both being pure in heart and what it means to see God.
Before diving in, I want to remind you that my next book, “The Tea Room Scrolls: Volume Two,” can be pre-ordered through this link. It will guide you in a much deeper study of the beatitudes than this blog series. Let’s get started with this week’s post!
The Condition of Our Heart
To fully comprehend being pure in heart, I think we need to look at Ezekiel 36:26.
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
If you are a Christian, if following Jesus is what you live for, this verse should be important to you. There should be feelings of great joy and contentment while reading verses such as this. Being pure in heart is something you will strive for because you don’t want to miss the blessing of seeing God!
This process is known as sanctification. Without the Holy Spirit, sanctification doesn’t happen. That being said, there’s also work on our part. Changes have to be made to our daily lives, all the way down to the thoughts occupying our minds. We are given a new heart, but it doesn’t always work.
The evil age we presently live in can threaten those of us who belong to Jesus. We have to resist the pressures of the world we live in. Because our minds are made new, our lives will start to change. This is what enables us to discern the will of God. We are justified the moment we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ. However, the process of sanctification lasts the rest of our lives. Every day, our priority becomes being more like Christ than we were the day before. And at this stage in walking the path of blessed living, we are seeking a pure heart: a peaceful, blissful, Christ centered heart of love.
This can be a constant, daily struggle when it isn't approached correctly. Keep in mind, our journey on this path is both progressive and subject to momentary change. If we are struggling we return to the beginning and walk the path again: a mindset of being poor in spirit, mourning for our weakness, listening intently to His guidance, thirsting after righteousness, being merciful to others, and now once again seeking a pure heart.
When it comes to being pure in heart, living more like Jesus in our daily lives, we don’t think our way into acting differently, nor do we act our way into thinking differently. God gives us both a new heart and a transformed mind. It’s on us to use both of these as He would have us. Jesus has given us this path of blessed living to direct our new minds and hearts to find extraordinary blessings in our lives.
What it Means to See God
When Jesus says, “they shall see God,” He’s saying they will see Him manifested in their current lives and in His glory in Heaven. This means we will see visions of Him, His miraculous works in our physical, emotional and spiritual lives and after we have finished living our lives here on earth, we will be face to face with God for eternity.
Jesus makes seeing God face to face possible for us. In fact, Jesus tells His followers, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Many conversions have happened after waking from vivid dreams or daytime visions of seeing Jesus. In my own experience, I’ve had only a few visions from God but one was of the face of Jesus hovering over a Jewish temple as I ministered out on the streets.
In additions to visions, Jesus is seen in every rebirth, every miraculous healing, every manifestation of love given to the loveless, every moment of relief to the pained and every moment of hope to the despaired.
Through nine years of rescue mission and street ministry, I’ve watched God work in my midst, literally changing people’s paths to collide with mine so He could give them the message they needed. I’ve seen him heal countless physical, mental and spiritual maladies. I’ve seen Him change minds, hearts, addictions and relationships.
Most of the time I’ve seen God was when I was pure in heart. I was dedicated to His Gospel for that timeframe. I was out on the streets or in ministry with a commitment to being His servant. I had no other distractions, no grocery list, no other agenda but to watch Him work ahead, with and behind me. I had the Gospel, the living agape love, dripping from my lips, with a ticket to the greatest show on earth.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will indeed see God. Most Christians live their entire lives content to not see God in this lifetime, waiting only for heaven. I encourage you, there is more to this amazing life in the kingdom of God. Take Jesus’ invitation to live a blessed life; walk with Him on this path of blessed living and enjoy His truth in action.