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Jun 02, 2019

Life in the Kingdom: Those With a Pure Heart

Life in the Kingdom: Those With a Pure Heart

Passage: Matthew 5:8

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Life in the Kingdom

Keywords: beatitudes, heart

Scripture:

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
-Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

Devotional:

On a recent airplane ride, I was entertained by the simple observations of a 3-year old boy who happened to be sitting directly in front of me. Upon accelerating for takeoff: "Daddy we're going really fast!" Upon climbing: "The houses are getting smaller!" And then finally his summation: "The world is big - AND small!!!" 

I thought about this boy when reflecting on the elegant simplicity of "blessed are the pure in heart". At first glance, the scripture seems simple: Live a life with a pure heart and salvation is yours, right? Wait a minute, aren't we told that man was born with sin? In other words, NOT with a pure heart. To paraphrase my 3-year old friend, "This Beatitude is easy - AND hard!" 

So, if the heart of man is naturally unclean, how do we embark on our path to seek God? For starters, we're taught that Jesus died for our sins. It is through His sacrifice that we are made clean. So, is that it? No, not quite. This scripture from the Beatitudes challenges us to seek a pure heart daily. 

According to Jesus (Matthew 22:36-40), the two greatest commandments are these: (1) love God with all our hearts, with all of our souls, and with all of our minds, and (2) love our neighbors as ourselves. 

Loving God more deeply starts with regularly going to the Father in prayer. By seeking the grace of God with humility, self-reflection, and contrition, we are pursuing a state of purity, even through imperfect hearts. Having a pure heart also means recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. A blind beggar called out to Jesus, "Son of David, have mercy on me." After restoring his sight, Jesus explains, "Your faith has saved you” (Luke 18:35-42). Although this man was blind, he could "see" that Jesus was the Son of God. Though we can see, how often are we blind to living Christ-centered lives? How can we be better about that? 

This is where that second of the greatest commandments comes in. We're told by Jesus, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you most love one another" (John 13:34). This can be a challenging commandment in our daily lives - busy schedules, difficult coworkers, and hectic traffic. The challenges of the world seem big and sometime overwhelming. Attending church regularly gives us an opportunity to see the little ways that God is at work in our communities. We're given an opportunity to see faith working through love right in front of our eyes. The world is big and small.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to reflect on Your Word and the example of Jesus Christ. We pray that we may become daily disciples of His teachings and live our lives with pure hearts. We pray that we may become living examples of Your unconditional love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 Written by Rich Krygiel. Rich leads one of our men's ministry groups at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband to Mary and father to Ella and Zach.