“Blessed are the pure in heart…”
In the opening words of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus focused attention on the center of true religion. Outside appearances, looking and acting religious aren’t what make us acceptable to God; rather it is the condition of our heart (Matthew 5.2-12).
The heart has always been the source of our troubles.
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, envy, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7.21-23).
Some folks have the notion that the world is to blame. Change the world, improve our environment, and all our troubles will disappear. But that’s just not so. Where was man when the trouble started? He was in Eden – in “paradise” – no environmental problems there! Our troubles come from within, not without. That’s why purity of heart is so crucial. Neither education, health, power, wealth, nor fame make us good people – purity of heart does.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” How badly do we want to see God? Are we willing to open our innermost thoughts, our cleverly concealed desires, our secret ambitions for God’s inspection? Oh how happy are those who live without shame before the all-seeing eye of God.
Jesus is keenly interested in the quality of our innermost being – purity of mind so clean that lust cannot live; honesty so well-known that oaths are unnecessary; love, care, and concern so genuine that hate, anger, prejudice, and retaliation are never reasons for action; trust in God’s provisions so complete that worry, greed, and material indulgence don’t distract. Those are the characteristics of the pure in heart.