The new you… pure in heart!
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Once more, Jesus draws our attention to His primary concern with those who would call upon Him as Lord. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. The Kingdom of God is all about engaging our hearts in everything we do.
This is important, because it is so easy to get caught up in all the forms of faith, without a real focus upon what is in, and flowing from, our hearts. We can DO what our faith requires of us – but, it is possible to do these things (and do them well) and never have our hearts invested in our actions.
This is why Jesus never emphasizes being religious. In fact, He often goes out of His way to point out the flaws of “heartless” religious practice. His prime example, in Scripture, is the Pharisees. They were masterful at keeping all the “nuances” of the Law – but wouldn’t lift a hand to help someone in need. Of this group of people, Jesus spoke His most critical words. Like: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me…” (Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6; quoting Isaiah 29:13). The Pharisees were experts at putting on an “impressive” outward display of righteousness – but their hearts were not engaged. They were pure in practice – but not pure in heart.
We need to be ever mindful that “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
God is not pleased merely by our religious activities. He is seeking for hearts that love Him, and love people – and every action that comes from a heart of love makes His Heart glad!
It is tempting to make Christianity all about a list of “righteous” activities (things we do; and things we don’t do). An easy checklist we can use to gauge our faith (and compare ourselves to others). We can fill our lives with prayers, church attendance, Bible reading, and a thousand other things (that ARE perfectly fine). But if our hearts are not fully invested in loving God and loving others (with His love) – then we are just simply going through the motions. We are play-acting – not really living as God’s people.
Other people might be impressed with our “spirituality” – but God is not.
And, in the end, God is the only One we need to please.
Prayer focus: God, help me to truly see the condition of my heart. Am I really serving You from my heart – or am I more about giving people an “impression” of my righteousness?