HAPPY: Are the Pure in Heart, for They Shall See God
Matthew 5:8 KJV - "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
From Self-Sufficiency and Self-Focus, to Dependence on God and Active Compassion for others, the process of transformation leads us to a purity of heart and spiritual sensitivity that enables to see God, His will and activity in our lives, like never before.
"Purity is freedom from anything that contaminates. Purity is the quality of being faultless, uncompromised, or unadulterated. Pure water is free from any other substances. Pure gold has been refined to such a degree that all dross has been removed. And a pure life is one in which sin no longer determines the choices one makes." (GotQuestions.org; no author credit given)
Holy Spirit's Work
Purity is very important to God as it is His chief attribute. God is perfect holiness and His desire for we, His people, is that we pursue Holiness/Purity.
1 Peter 1:15-16 KJV - "15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (lifestyle); 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
True purity or holiness is not the product of the work and discipline of a person, but of the rule and control of Holy Spirit in the life of a person who submits to Him. His purifying work comes through selflessness and humility. Attempting to become Pure and Holy on our own, apart from the Holy Spirit's work in us, we most likely become "Pious", not pure and holy.
The secondary definition of the word "Pious", according to Webster's Dictionary, is "marked by conspicuous religiosity". This is the height of self righteousness, arrogant strutting, like a peacock with feathers fanned, waiting to hear the praise and approbation of man, with little regard for God's feedback in our lives.
Matthew 23:5-7 NLT - "5 Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. 6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called 'Rabbi."
"But isn't it terrible that the way God's will was accomplished through them was through their stubbornness and disobedience and not their cooperation and obedience?"
The religious leaders of Jesus day, the Pharisees, were examples of what happens when a person tries to become holy and pure by their own discipline and strength. Instead of recognizing their lack and need for Jesus, and working with Him, they opposed Him and killed Him, putting Him on the cross. This of course was what had to happen. But isn't it terrible that the way God's will was accomplished through them was through their stubbornness and disobedience and not their cooperation and obedience?
Submission to Holy Spirit
Our part in the work of purity and holiness is to submit to Holy Spirit's leadership in our life. This is the first step on the journey to purity and holiness. The Holy Spirit will faithfully attempt to lead us and work in our lives, but He will not force Himself upon us, we must invite Him to lead and submit to His leadership.
The purifying work of Holy Spirit in our lives is achieved in our daily interactions with Him through prayer and the Word. Only as we open the Word of God, praying, asking Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our heart to see and comprehend what He wants to teach us, are we able to come under His influence and work.
Psalm 46:8-10 NLT - "8 Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world. 9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world."
"Be Still and Know that I Am God". Notice that the context, the text around this admonition, is a state of war which is extreme activity and chaos. It is in the middle of extreme activity and chaos, that He commands us to be still.
We often escape the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives because of the extreme business, activity, and chaos of the world around us. We get sucked into it's frenetic pace and miss what the Spirit is trying to do and say to us. Stilling oneself is an act of submission, sitting down and disengaging from the current of the world around us so that we may engage the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:1-2 KJV - "1 And you hath the quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
There is a "Course", or a Path, that leads one in the thinking and the ways of the world, over which Satan has been given authority, by God. As Christians we have been saved from walking in this path, but if we are not diligent we may find ourselves, again, walking this course.
Paul had an associate that helped in him in his ministry. His name was Demas. Something happened to Demas that can happen all too easily to us if we are not careful. Listen to what Paul said about him.
2 Timothy 4:10a KJV - "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;"
Following the Holy Spirit leads us out of the world. It delivers us from the mindset of the world that we walked in before accepting Christ as our Savior. Our behavior and loves should change, lining up more and more with what God loves and desires for us.
1 John 2:15-16 KJV - "15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
Matthew 6:24 NLT - "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Galatians 6:7-8 KJV - "7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
Don't assume that there are acceptable levels of worldliness. The world of which the Bible speaks is not "Terra Firma", or the planet itself. It speaks of the ideology of Satan and his influence as the Prince of the Power of the Air, the system by which unbelievers live. It is an ideology that encourages focus on satisfying the self and its desires. The self is referring to the sinful nature within a person. Satisfying the desires of the flesh leads to a lack of control.
Proverbs 29:18 NLT - "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful."
I believe that God's desire for His people is that we hate everything of this world system. Jesus was like this, and Holy Spirit is trying to transform us into His image more and more each day.
What Does Purity Look Like?
Purity and morality go hand in hand. Morals are all about how we behave, and what governs our behavior. The definition of "Moral", from the "Online Etymology Dictionary", is as follows. "mid-14c., "associated with or characterized by right behavior," also "associated with or concerning conduct or moral principles" (good or bad), from Old French moral (14c.) and directly from Latin moralis "proper behavior of a person in society"
In Christianity we often limit the idea of purity to the exclusion of sinful or ungodly behaviors. To be true followers of Christ we must be as concerned about what we DO as much as what we DON'T DO. Jesus was the perfect example of this understanding of purity. His behavior was completely governed by the will of His heavenly Father.
John 5:19 NLT - "So Jesus explained, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does."
Jesus was His own person, with His own will, He was not a puppet. In Jesus we see the perfect nature of the Godhead. God consists of three individual persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. They are three complete unique individuals with their own personhood and personalities. But they are so completely devoid of self and self interest, concerned with and serving the needs of the other, that they are completely and perfectly unified in one, so much so that they appear to be one person. This is God's desire for those who come to Him.
Philippians 2:3-8 NLT - "3 Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross."
Purity is not simply defined by what we do and don't do, it is who we are. Purity leads us to live a life where, like Jesus, everything we do is that which satisfies the Father's desires, not our own. This can seem unattainable, and the truth is a person may never achieve complete purity in this life, where we do only those things we see the Father doing, but it is the goal of Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
The difficulty we have is keeping ourselves under the Holy Spirit's influence. Our sinful nature fights our attempts to surrender to Holy Spirit with vicious ferocity. Our flesh has strong desires that will not quietly fall back. This is why Jesus teaches to fast, which is to deny our flesh of even the most basic and true needs. We are instructed to "Afflict" ourselves.
James 4:7-10 KJV - "7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
Jesus says that Purity enables a person to "See God." In our world people often express a desire to be "seen". By that I believe they mean that they want to be known, understood, and valued. This desire is woven into the heart of all of us. But would it surprise you to know that God has that same desire?
It shouldn't, after all, we are created in God's image. God is omniscient, or all-knowing, He knows, understands, and values us, perfectly already. But He created us to have a personal and intimate relationship with us, and as such desires to be seen, or known, understood, and valued by us.
Purity leads a person away from distraction created by the myriad desires of the sinful nature within us all. As these distractions (impurities) diminish, our ability to See and discern God improves. There is a saying in the world that says "To know him is to love him." This is never more true than when said of knowing God. He is everything that is good. The Bible says that every thing that is good and perfect comes from Him (James 1:17).
Be encouraged. God wants to be known by us more than we want to know Him. Through Holy Spirit we have all that we need to know Him, but we must declare war on the sinful nature, the flesh, within us. It's not easy, but it is worth the struggle. Let's encourage each other to pursue purity and holiness so we, together, will SEE God.