“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
Silly stories and word games are all part of the bedtime routine in our house. Bedtime has proven to be the best time to talk with my kids; they let their guards down and don’t mind allowing me a few free moments of goofiness before the lights go out each night. My 8 year old son loves to play the game “Would You Rather”. You know…the game where you are presented with two different options and you must choose one. You can’t say “pass” or “none”; you must make a choice. He usually offers up scenarios like “Would you rather eat earthworm salad or eyeball spaghetti?”; or one of my personal favorites “Would you rather eat frog skin soup or a gym sock sandwich?”
From time to time, we get to have more contemplative conversations: “Mom, what does heaven look like?”; “Would you rather meet Jesus or Michael Jordan?”; “Do you think God looks like an old man?” I love the places that his imagination will take him as he pictures his heavenly Father reclined in an eternal home. We get to talk about how Jesus is not on the same level as Michael and how our brains can’t begin to imagine the majesty and beauty of heaven. Maybe God does look like Gandalf, but maybe he doesn’t look like a man at all.
These moments bring Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount to mind as he shares the Beatitudes with eager listeners. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. As I recall this sermon, my heart is filled to exploding as I promise my son that someday the pictures of God held tight in our imaginations will fade as we see him face to face. In that moment our knees won’t be able to hold our weight and our eyes will be overwhelmed with light. We will be enveloped in the light and God’s glory will surround, leaving us breathless and speechless. Just as I become sure, I quickly question myself, “Can I make my son this promise with certainty?” The scripture says the “pure in heart” will see God.
Pure? That word sounds shiny and clean and I’ve never considered myself to be either of those things. As a matter of fact, I’d feel more comfortable using words like “imperfect” and “messy” to describe my life. Pure sounds too holy. Too “church-y”.
I have two very vivid memories where I begged God to show me His face. If He did exist like everyone said He did, I demanded that He show up. I was hurting and searching for a God that everyone promised was present, but I doubted was ever really there for me. I hadn’t accepted and believed with my heart that God could save me; I didn’t know or understand God’s word to be alive and active; and I never confessed anything to anyone- my sins and deepest secrets were mine to swallow.
We are promised to see the face of God in our acceptance of Jesus’s sacrifice for us. His blood cleanses our hearts and makes them pure and presentable in the presence of a good and sovereign God. Jesus’s death not only allows us to live eternally in Heaven, but allows us to experience Him on this earth. With the Holy Spirit’s power given to us, we can see Jesus and once we’ve seen Jesus, we’ve seen God. Our hearts are the central most part of our being; responsible for emotion, will, and reason. When our hearts are purified through faith in our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are set free to see. Our stained and ragged garments are exchanged for crisp, white linens; fresh, pure coverings. Accepting Jesus’s sacrifice is the first step in gaining our sight.
God’s word and daily confession both lead our hearts to purity. You don’t have to be a bible scholar to start reading scripture- it’s alive and active, cutting to the deepest joints and marrow, judging our thoughts and attitudes. Confessing what we believe to be the worst parts of ourselves to God and to each other will bring healing and a clean conscience. We were never meant to bear the burdens of our sin alone; confession and God’s word make our hearts pure and fertile for turning over and tilling in seeds of truth, love, and faith.
I couldn’t have expected to see God’s face all those years ago in the condition I was in. My heart was in opposition to God, wasn’t pure; it was hard, angry, and unwilling to believe. However, it wasn’t too late for me and it isn’t too late for you. With the acceptance of Jesus, your heart is made pure through Him, and the payment He made for you on the cross. His desire is for us to come to Him and see Him, face to face.
Uncover the parts of your heart you are closing off- God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything. Step out of hiding. He’s never been hidden but has been waiting for you to decide you’re ready to stand in freedom and sing “I was blind, but now I see”!
Heavenly Father, if there is just one person reading this that needs to accept Jesus into their hearts, I ask that you move in a mighty way in their lives. Show them that Jesus is the Healer, the Redeemer, and the Restorer of all that seems broken. Father, help us commit to being in your Word, confessing our sins and shortcomings, and living with pure hearts. You promise us new lives and new identities in Jesus Christ; we want newness, freshness, and fullness of life found only in You. We love you and thank you for your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s post was written by Ashley Gregory, who is a contributor to the Deeper Still Devotional Blog. Ashley lives in Mt. Sterling, Illinois and is married to Mark. They have 3 children and she serves on the Central Illinois Deeper Still team.
Deeper Still is a ministry that offers free weekend retreats for women who have had abortions and the men who fathered children lost to abortion. If you have had an abortion and would like more information about our retreats, please go to www.GoDeeperStill.org to find a retreat close to you.