As Jesus is giving His famous sermon on the mount, He says is, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). When the Bible talks about the heart, it is not talking about the muscular organ in your chest that pumps blood through your arteries and veins. As we examine passages of Scripture where “heart” is mentioned, we will understand further what it means to be pure in heart.
The Bible uses the word heart to refer to the emotions. Jesus said in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled.” This means we don’t need to worry or freak out! The word heart can also refer to the intellect. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Hebrews 4:12 talks about the thoughts and intents of the heart. Finally, the word heart can also refer to the will. Daniel 1:8 says, “Daniel purposed in his heart….” When you put this all together, the human heart refers to the innermost being. In Proverbs we read, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Pr. 4:23). The problem with the human heart is that it is sinful (Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:9, Mt. 15:19).
Another word for pure is holy. Those with a holy heart are the ones who receive blessing. “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord” (Ps. 24:3-5). The Pharisees burdened people with legalistic interpretations and man-made laws. Throughout history there have been those who would give their wealth to the poor and go live in a monastery. Some would live alone as a hermit in the desert or in caves. The Monastic movement had benefits but it made two classes of Christians: those who lived in monastery and those who lived in the real world. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in the real world. How can we have holy hearts while living in this world? We can stay in the Word (Jn. 15:3) and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).
The word pure means clean or unmixed. I like the word honest. God is looking for authentic respectful, real, raw relationship. Like marriage. “Miss” Tammy and I have no trouble telling each other how we really feel. We are His bride. We can tell God how we feel. He already knows what’s in your heart. Come clean with Him. Give Him the good, the bad, and the ugly. James 4:8 tells us, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Can you imagine marrying someone and they bring their boyfriend or girlfriend to the altar? That would be crazy! In the same way, we are to love God with our whole heart (Mt. 22:37). Psalm 78:72 says David had integrity of heart. David was not perfect, but he was a man after God’s own heart. David did not have a sinless heart, but he loved God with singleness of heart. In fact, when God sent Samuel to anoint David as King, we read, “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 Sam. 16:7). God is focused on your heart. Some think if I just believe right or behave right, but the essence of Christianity is your heart.
The promise of God keeps us going! Job suffered and yet he persevered knowing that one day he would see God (Job 19:25-26). It will be worth it all when we see Jesus. One day we will see Him there, but we can also see Him here today. Look at the stars, or the ocean, or an expectant mother’s ultrasound. Look at the sunrise and sunset. Look at His provision in your life, how He’s working in your family, or even an up-close parking spot at Wal-Mart! You can see God if you look for Him with a pure heart.
Are you one way on Sunday and another on Monday? Does your Saturday night match up with your Sunday morning? In order to live a happy and blessed life, your heart has to be pure… not perfect. We are all a work in progress. May our prayer be, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart! That is why the Bible says in Romans 10:9-13, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation… For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”