In 1977 the Archbishop of Cape Town, Bill Burnett, preached at my confirmation service and, although I can’t recall exactly what he said, I still remember the text he used. It was ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8, ESV). Mostly he told us about his close walk with Jesus and it was very encouraging to me as a brand new Christian.
Seeing God is surely the ultimate thing that we want. I know it is for me. I want to fully experience being in His presence, so I must ensure that I have a pure heart.
The popular evangelist and writer J.John concludes from Jesus teaching that ‘it is the heart that is ultimately responsible for our actions.' I couldn’t agree more. I once did a study of all the places where the Bible mentions the heart and found it was our will, our emotions of love, our mind and thoughts, our personality, and the core of our identity within our human spirit.
My question is ‘Can I do anything about the state of my heart’? King David prays to God and asks Him to deal with his heart, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit (Psalm 51:10-12, ESV). Keith Green once used those verses from Psalm 51 to compose a beautiful song which has recently been played a lot on UCB Christian radio. I often heard it during the time our international team had set aside a special week for prayer and fasting. God spoke to us that week many times about the state of our hearts and finally this message summed it all up ‘At the end of the day, He just wants our hearts. From our individual hearts to the heart of the ministry, re-alignment must be brought and soulish things stripped away’.
Peter Horrobin has been examining the subject of the new birth in his teachings in ellel 365. When we are born again we are cleansed in our heart and have peace with God. Our sins are forgiven. But that’s just the beginning of our new life and we have to keep our hearts cleansed and pure. Perhaps as mature Christians we need to be reminded about that.
Prayer: Oh Lord, please help me to understand when my heart is in danger of becoming unclean and when it needs to be purified. Help me not to get distracted by things that are not so important in Your eyes. I want to be as close to You as I can. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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