Babies lie. They learn very early that it pays off to deceive. You’ve seen it – the fake crying, the pretending to be hurt, followed by furtive glances to see who is paying attention. It’s not long before babies learn to covet. And steal.
Which, of course, means that before we are out of diapers, we are already breaking the 10 commandments in pretty routine way. I said “we” because those babies grow up to be us, complete with twisted spaghetti strands of mixed motives, woven through our hearts. The most prolific writer of the New Testament called himself the worst of all sinners, and said even in his best moments, sin was right there with him, messing everything up.
But Jesus said,
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Not, “the pretty good,” but “the pure.” How you doin’? Me? I’ve got a long way to go before “pure” is even on the horizon. So what does this mean for us? How is this teaching supposed to encourage us?
If you have been following these posts about the Sermon on the Mount (They start HERE), you won’t be surprised to know that, again, this teaching points us to the gift Jesus gives to those who trust Him – the gift of the Holy Spirit. Here’s how He describes the impact of receiving the Spirit:
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)
Years ago, a woodsman took me on a hike and showed me how to find a spring. When he found a likely place, he cleared away the twigs and rotting leaves, digging down into the dirt and mud, until a small trickle of water emerged. He said, “Now we have to wait and keep cleaning out this pool.” As the water continued to flow, the small pool he’d dug began to change from dark, thick mud, to muddy water, eventually looking much clearer. It became like a fine lens, allowing us to clearly see the pebbles below. And still we waited. And waited. But the time came when we submerged our faces into the pool and drank deeply. The water was clean and cool. It was refreshing. It was pure.
It takes a lifetime, but that is what happens to the heart of the one who surrenders to Jesus. The Spirit flows through them, gradually transforming them and cleansing them. The day is coming when our hearts will be pure, the day when we will see God.