Solomon wrote in Proverbs, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). As Jesus opened his Sermon on the Mount, he shared nine proverb-like, “blessed are” statements with his followers. The sixth of Jesus’ “blessed are” statements is “Blessed are those who are pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). What exactly does it mean to be pure in heart? Webster defines pure as, “unmixed with any other matter,” such as 100% pure gold. It isn’t mixed with other metals. It is pure, containing only gold.
As Christians, we must understand that a pure heart is one filled only with our devotion to and love for God and Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Who is pure of heart? Only those who have surrendered their hearts completely to Jesus that he may reign in them alone. Only those whose hearts are undefiled by their own evil — and by their own virtues too.” A pure heart cannot be filled with jealousy, selfish ambition, vain conceit or greed. A pure heart has to be emptied of those characteristics and filled with a desire to fully surrender our hearts and lives to following Jesus.
Christ gave us a great example of a pure heart. The apostle Paul wrote about Christ’s humility in Philippians 2 when he reminded us that we should do nothing form selfish ambition or vain conceit, and that we ought to consider others above ourselves because that’s the example Jesus set for us. Paul was addressing matters of the heart. If we seek the kind of humility that Christ exemplified, it guards our heart against impure motives or doing good things for our own glory and praise rather than seeking to glorify God.
We know that God looks at the heart. God reminded Samuel of this as Samuel was going to anoint David as king. God knows our heart. He knows the importance of a pure heart that is fully surrendered to Him. God knew David’s heart when He chose him to be the next king. We know that David made some big mistakes in his life, but David strove to have a pure heart. We know that despite his shortcomings, God said that David was “a man after [God's] own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). In Psalm 51, David wrote, “Create in me a clean (or pure) heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:10-12). David asked God for a pure heart, the renewal of a right spirit, and strength. We need to have this same prayer today.
If everything we do flows from our heart, then guarding our heart and filling it up with Christ should be a priority for us. In a world that says, "me first” and “do whatever makes you happy," we have to work diligently on creating and maintaining a pure heart, a heart that is fully surrendered to Jesus. There is an old hymn we sometimes sing titled, Take My Life and Let it Be. This song beautifully describes what a pure, surrendered heart looks like. Think about these words:
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise,
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee,
Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee,
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use every power as thou shalt choose,
Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne,
Take my love; my Lord, I pour at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.
Let’s examine our hearts to make sure they are pure. Let's examine our hearts to make sure they are filled only with Christ. When we have a pure, clean heart we will live a life fully devoted to Him with pure motives. So, let’s be the good and be pure in heart!