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The Beatitudes: Day 9

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

by

Today's Text: Matthew 5:8, Ezekiel 36:22-28, Psalm 24:1-10, Revelation 22:1-5

Text: Matthew 5:8, Ezekiel 36:22-28, Psalm 24:1-10, Revelation 22:1-5

The doctor’s office wasn’t on my list of must-see destinations in Italy, but it’s the one I got to check off the list just 72 hours into my semester abroad.

I’d intentionally chosen a program without any familiar faces—just me and the open road! Instead, it was just me… and the scratching. And the hives.

The minute the itchiness ensued, I immediately began washing all my clothes and sheets, then used every last drop of my brand-new bottle of soap in the shower. But it got worse, sending me to the farmacia, which was closed, followed by the doctor’s office, all the while accompanied by a translator who did not know the word for “hives.”

This isn’t the first time I’d taken matters into my own hands, working to scrub away my flaws for a pristine exterior. Just today, I’ve held doors, given compliments, and tweeted Scripture—which are all good things, but my motives are off. And do you know what I see when I do these things? Nothing. I’m hiding so well that I don’t see a thing—not myself, and definitely not God.

Sitting in the doctor’s office chair, I listened to the translator and the doctor intensely converse, unable to decipher what they were saying. Then, the translator turned to me, diagnosing an allergic reaction to an ingredient specific to Italian soap and detergent.

What I’d been using to hide and treat my condition was actually the root of my problem. My attempts to outwardly correct my inward shame had only exposed it more.

When I read, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8), I’m sent scrambling, trying to scrub my heart of its impurities. Reading that verse makes me want to work harder and look better. But in reality, I start to hide more, feel less, and then wonder why I can’t see God in the midst of my shame.

I want to see Him. I want to see Him so badly that I’ve shamed my sinful heart into hiding. But Praise the Lord, He is not hiding from us, and nothing is hidden from Him. God sees us and knows us long before we could ever think to seek Him. He saw us first.

For “Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). He sees us when we are impressive, as well as indecent. He knows our hiding places and wants to give us a better one (Psalm 32:7).

While we are busy trying to correct our outward behavior and conceal our inward brokenness, we miss the work God is already doing:

“For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
–Ezekiel 36:24-28

By His grace, may we stop hiding from Him in shame, and instead turn to face the One who has already blessed us with the purity of Christ and washed us clean. SRT-Beatitudes-Instagram9s

 

  • Hoooooey have I had the wrong intentions with scrubbing my heart oh-so clean – so I can be “on” for everyone else, making room in my heart for their junk and just tossing my own to the side. Scrub my heart clean God so I can be NEARER TO YOU! Having all the answers is not the reward for a clean heart — YOU ARE. Create in your daughters clean hearts, Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within us!

  • We found out we were having twins, my husband and I. We wanted just one more, but we got two. After losing a little boy when I was 17 weeks pregnant 4 years ago, we were sure these two babies were boys and they were the redeeming work of God’s hands. We. Were. Thrilled. Certain everything would go right and well. We went in for a routine appointment on Monday, I was 12 weeks and 5 days. The first thing we saw, they were boys. The next, there were no heartbeats. My whole world came shattering around me in that moment. I went in for a D&C the next morning. Physically the recovery has been excruciating. I lost more blood than I was supposed to and what they did to stop it is working, but it causes more cramping.But honestly, the physical pain that’s distracting me from the heart kind of pain is strangely welcomed. I told my husband tonight that I was starting to feel really sad and I didn’t want to face it. I would rather ignore the pain, tell myself it isn’t there because I know it will be more than I can bear. I know I need to let myself feel that sadness. I’m just so terrified to feel it. These words were gentle, loving reminders to let myself feel. Prayers for me sisters, as I enter into this next phase of grief.

  • What I’d been using to hide and treat my condition was actually the root of my problem. My attempts to outwardly correct my inward shame had only exposed it more.

    This is so wise and insightful. Praise be to God for Jesus who cleanses my heart and gives me grace to see Him more clearly!

  • I’ve been loving this study. I feel like every day hits me exactly where I need it. Today is no different. Especially this:

    “While we are busy trying to correct our outward behavior and conceal our inward brokenness, we miss the work God is already doing”

    I so often feel like I’m trying to fix my behavior, and continually failing, so I can’t possibly be good enough for God..this can’t possibly be what he meant for my life. But He’s there. He’s actively working in my life. I’m just missing it because I’m too focused on the wrong things. I’m not focused on Him..I’m just focused on my own shame for my failure to be what I think He wants of me.

    May I recognize God for what He’s already doing in my life, and turn to Him when I feel the urge to be hard on myself for the things I have, or haven’t, done.

    • Lindsay

      AMEN! Every single day has been exactly what I needed to hear. It’s been one of my favorite studies so far. So utterly refreshing.

  • Thank u Father for these words of thruth. Learn me your humility … To show this world a true living heart instead of a heart that s all puffed up. Show how me to be braver in humility

    Because we re all struggling in a world full of picture perfect me ‘s.

    Amen.

  • Jess Gardiner

    My heart is ugly and dirty. I have been in such despair over the state of it. But then I open up my heart to the Saviour and confess my not-okayness to Him. Oh thanks be to God that He makes my heart pure AND draws so near that I might see and know Him. So so thankful x

  • Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” We can not create a pure heart. Only God can. He simply wants us to ask.

    • Lana

      Thank you for this scripture, Bonnie.

    • Paige

      Thank you for sharing. The lord sees my heart and I do want to ask him to make it pure. I understand now that I won’t be the one to purify it it’s the almighty God who will; I just need to ask Him.

  • Lord, in a world that beckons us to share our awesomeness with one another, would we be women who intentionally share YOUR awesomeness. Father, would I be this woman.

  • I’ve always struggled with the balance of turning to and depending on God–and personal responsibility. Faith requires action. God doesn’t do everything for us. But where do I draw the line? At what point do I stop doing and let God take over?

    • Shea Kitts

      I don’t have all the answers, but this quote has helped me enormously with the question you are asking: “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” So my prayers have changed to, “Lord, I’m doing this not to earn your love–I know I already have it. I’m making the effort because you love me.” And a really helpful book on this subject is “Union with Christ” by Rankin Wilbourne.

    • Christina

      My husband always says it this way: We can’t do it. None of us. The law made it very obvious that we need Someone to do it for us. And Jesus did. He accomplished everything we are to accomplish perfectly. Yet we still can’t live as we are supposed to. But the Christ life, the life we desire to live after encountering the One who accomplished it all, is about learning daily to die to self in order for Christ to live through us. We can’t. He does it in us and through us. So the right things we do aren’t of ourselves. We don’t get the credit. He does! We simply stop trying and let Him live in us.

      Now, this I understand to a degree, but I often have a hard time living it out practically. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s rarely easy not to put forth effort of my own. I know it takes constant prayerfulness.

  • “You’re blessed when you get your inside world–your mind and heart– put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” –Msg Bible. Heart surgery please, remove my heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh today!

  • Very timely this morning. I just came from my first mission trip where the Lord used me to plant seeds of the gospel in a very dark place. During this time I saw some things about myself that I didn’t know. The most amazing thing was some of the changes in me that had not been apparent before this trip. Through the fire of trials and tribulations, He had changed my heart and I didn’t even know it until I was put into action by Him to do His work. I could have never done this on my own. I am so in awe of my God!!

  • Diane Huntsman

    I want to see Him. I want to see Him so badly that I’ve shamed my sinful heart into hiding. But Praise the Lord, He is not hiding from us, and nothing is hidden from Him. God sees us and knows us long before we could ever think to seek Him. He saw us first.
    This.. <3

  • I. LOVE. THIS. Two words articulated my heart more than any… “feel less”. When I try more, I FEEL LESS. It’s often a bit scary to stop and take an honest look inward. All that FEELING (dread, fear, anxiety, shame) can be overwhelming and all I want to do is turn away. Ignore it. But when I face it and I’m willing to SEE what’s there, it drives me straight to my merciful Creator AND it allows His gifts to shine forth from within ME! His beloved daughter whom He knows from inception! And THEN HE owns all that emotion. He is amazing. How do I ever stray? Yet still, I do. Thank you God for your mercy and grace.

  • Christina

    Thank you for this, Kaitlin! This most definitely causes me to make an inward assessment of my heart motives. I never want to portray myself as something I am not (especially on social media, where so many do not know me personally or well), yet I struggle with the conviction to use social media as a platform to share Truth, which can come across as though I am more than I am. I’m conflicted! I hope and pray that my well-intentioned actions are from a heart of “putting feet to my faith,” living out my professed faith, but sometimes I am pointing at me. Lord, show me the difference!

    • C Gunckel

      Christina, I had never thought of it this way because I share a lot of what I read here at SRT. I never want to be perceived as being better than or that I don’t struggle within and without but the words are so rich and so full of truth for me I want others to see it as well. I know God sees my heart but perhaps a little less sharing and more doing and being transparent are in order for me.

      • Christina

        I so understand that! I share a lot of SRT, as well. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad. I certainly won’t allow others’ possible perceptions keep me from sharing, but I do want to be more aware of my motives (am I looking for “likes,” or have I been led to share? Etc. Have a blessed day! :)

  • Sarah_Joy

    Timely reading after a conversation I had yesterday. I struggle with this strong sense of “not enough” “do more” “I fail.” The hamster wheel of shame, failure and striving is exhausting. I want to read all of this again later today because I need it to stick.

  • churchmouse

    I got nothing. Before a holy God, I got nothing. Whether it’s an open gift of accomplishments or a secret offering I hide behind my back, I got nothing. He is holy. I’m a hot mess. He knows me. I can conceal nothing. BUT GOD. He loved me while I was still yet a sinner. When I set down the accomplishments and reveal what I’m hiding, His arms are open wide. Forever. Because of Jesus, I can bring my nothing and receive everything. The pretending can end. It’s just the real me before Him. And it’s ok. Thankful for that today.

  • My work at my righteousness is fruitless. It is always and only and ever will be Christ’s work of grace and mercy in me that makes me pure. All my works of righteousness are like filthy rags. His ONE and FINAL act of righteousness alone purifies me. When He declared from the cross “It is finished” that is what he meant and I can rest in His work and not tire on my own work trying to attain something He has freely given. Praising God for His mercy and grace to me in spite of me!

  • More than any other Beatitude, this is the one I often feel that I have to try to achieve by myself, so I love the reminder in Ezekiel of all that God does for us: gathers us up to bring us home, washes and cleanses us, gives us a new heart, fills us with his Spirit and identifies us as his people. It is so reassuring that purity of heart is not down to our actions and efforts, but down to what God has done for us.

    • Kelly R Smith

      I am with you, though I didn’t recognize it until I read your words. More than any other, this beatitude elicits performance in me. “Let me show you my heart by my actions.” So thankful that my pure heart is not dependent on me!

    • Sue D.

      Me too Lesley! As soon as I saw which one we were reading I felt like what’s the point? I can never be pure in heart. Praise God he has done it for me! I need to only listen and follow him!

  • Alice Carroll

    Thanks be to God, that He always sees me, even when I hide from him. Thanks be to God that He calls me to see Him too, and gives me Christ’s righteousness so I can see Him. And one day I will know as I am known.

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