I am going to make fun of my friend for a second here. She is a lovely, beautiful, Godly germ freak. I always knew this about her, but I saw it in action last week when my daughter and I traveled by train with her and her daughter. As I happily sipped my coffee and my daughter played with her doll ON THE FLOOR OF THE PUBLIC TRAIN, both of us oblivious to the presence of germs, bacteria or other such toxins, my friend was in full-on battle mode. She was relentless in her attack against impurities. Hand sanitizer everywhere! I had no idea my exterior surroundings could be so toxic.
As I now giggle thinking back on our trip, I can’t stop thinking about that hand sanitizer. I wish I could do what my friend did with her hands to my heart. I want to squirt a big glob of it in my heart, and then I want to really rub it into all the gunky crevices where impurities like jealousy, bitterness and selfishness live. This verse says plainly that the pure in heart will see God, and I want to see God. I want my faith to be real. I want my God to be more than an invisible idea that I visit silently on Sunday. So, how do I do the pure in heart part?
Well, anyone who has ever gone to Sunday school knows that the answer to just about any Christian question is “God”, “Jesus” or “the Bible”. And I think that is true here. Still, in the wake of Easter, we have to look back at the religious leaders who studied scriptures day and night, who built a nation bent on looking for a Savior, who believed whole-heartedly in God. And when the Jesus stood before them - so closely that their spit would land on His face - they said, “Crucify Him!”
They believed in God, they knew scripture, but they did not see. Their hearts were not pure. So, when I look at this verse, and I wonder HOW, how do I get a pure heart? I have to look at two things: my motive and my obedience.
First, motive. In all the Christian/God stuff that we do, what is our motive? Is it to feel good about ourselves? Is it because we are good Christian women and that is just what we do? Is it something we need to check off to feel productive? When I sit to have my quiet time, when I go to Bible Study, when I serve those in need – why am I doing it? Is the truth of it that I want to see myself in a better light? Or is it because I want to see God? God tells us, “You will seek me and you will find me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” Let’s be clear: God can be found; He wants to be found. This is not a spiritual game of hide-and-seek where you are always “it”. God is in the business of revealing Himself. The question is, are we truly seeking Him? In all that we do in our Christian realms, are we seeking Him or are we seeking a prettier version of ourselves?
The second heart sanitizer is obedience. I really, really stink at obedience. I am good at reading God’s word and making notes about its poignancy in my journal. I can even write about it… like…I …am…doing…right…now. But doing what it says is far harder. I get up, put the Words down, go about my day, and wonder why my heart is so grimy. Have you ever gotten a pump of hand sanitizer and not rubbed it in? I rolls right off. It may cleanse that spot where it landed, but that’s it. My friend rubbed her hands raw getting that stuff in every crease of her skin. God’s word is not meant to be doppled on the top of our hearts. It is meant to be massaged all into our hearts. We do that by obedience. Scripture tells us to be careful with our words; and as we obey, it is like the sanitizer begins to wash away the part of the heart that is critical. Scripture tells us to honor our parents, and as we do that, His word begins to wash away the part of our heart that is breeding resentment. Our obeying is the massaging of the heart, and massaging done by Holy words purifies.
We can be so topical in our faith – showing up at events, reading our devotions, singing our songs. And we wonder why we don’t see God, why our faith feels empty. William Barclay says we can only see what we are able to see. If I go for a walk down a country road, I am likely to see a bunch of weeds, maybe an odd wildflower, some vines. But if a botanist walked down the same road, he might see plants that could be eaten, maybe some exotic herbs. He may notice a flower that is a rarity in that it typically blooms in countries far away. He sees what I don’t see because he has spent years looking and testing and studying and thinking about plants.
The same is true with God and His word. We will see what we are able to see. And we are able to see more and more as we take His word into our hearts. We hear His word, we study His word, we rub His sanitizing Word into the dark corners of our hearts as we obey His word. We think about Him, we abide in Him, we love Him, and then we get up and we walk through our lives LOOKING for Him.
The more we look for Him, the more we will see Him. CS Lewis said, “It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.”
Let’s be women who live wanting to see God