Summary: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
The Beauty of Clarity
Show some pictures and ask people what they see; multiple options w/in each picture.
What do you see? You see what your heart is attuned to; what your heart values.
Turn to Matthew 5:8 as we continue this series on the Beatitudes. In these Beatitudes, Jesus reveals the secrets to a life of supreme happiness. The problem is that our own secrets keep us from discovering THE secrets Jesus is revealing.
Rick Warren says we’re only as sick as our secrets, and he’s right. As long as we are in denial, as long as we keep hiding our secrets, we won’t discover the secrets Jesus is revealing about this life of supreme happiness.
What does it mean to be pure in heart? The word PURITY (KATHAROS): IT CAN MEAN CLEAN, BUT IT ALSO CAN MEAN CLEAR. THE FIRST REFERS TO ETHICS AND MORALITY; THE SECOND REFERS TO FOCUS AND CLARITY.
That word katharos, do you recognize it? We get our word catharsis from it. Most of the times we use the word to refer to an emotional cleansing. Weeping can be cathartic, right? It is a part of the grieving process that brings healing. When I was grieving the loss of my brother a couple of years ago, I’d feel this build up of grief and then it would lead to weeping, and then afterward, I felt better; I felt cleansed.
This is the 2nd secret Jesus revealed in v.4: Brokenness brings healing; Those who mourn are supremely happy. He was talking about a brokenness over our spiritual depravity that brings healing from the impact of our sin. It brings a desperation for God. A yearning for God. A hunger and thirst for Him and His word and for Him making things right. It kind of makes everything else kind of fade away and Him most important.
That’s when katharos also includes focus and clarity. We get focused on God. It’s so easy to get focused on the stuff of this world, isn’t it? It’s easy to get focused on our problems (PIC OF SOMEONE DESPAIRING OVER PAYING BILLS), our the problems of our nation (PIC OF OCCUPY), or the problems of THE BACHELOR (PIC).
But Jesus says, there is a condition of the heart that enables you to get focused on God. It’s wanting what God wants; it’s being attuned to who He is and what He wants.
One of my favorite singers and entertainers was Whitney Houston. She honed her skills singing in church. She even played the part of a believer in The Preacher’s Wife (PIC). It was so painful to watch her struggle in her personal life. Like Whitney, we get focused on stuff that leaves us empty and grasping and confused. Our hearts aren’t attuned to what God wants and the results are usually tragic.
Here’s the question that gets at the core of the issue: Why do we want God? To make us feel better? To make us happy? To make us healthy? Wealthy? If we want God only for what He does for us, then when we don’t get that, we have no use for Him. I often talk to people who have given up on God because He didn’t do what they wanted. If we want God only for what He does for us, only if He does what we want, then life gets very unclear and very confusing.
Here’s another possibility: if we want God only for what He can do for us, then once we have that, then we don’t need Him anymore. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a trial, in an adversity, how you draw close to God, cry out to God, hunger for His word and prayer and right living? But then what happens when the crisis passes? God back to your pre-crisis, spiritually mundane life.
Want to know why you can’t see God in your circumstances? You’re not looking for Him. Not looking for how He works. Not spending time looking in His word for promises. Here’s the tough one: not wanting what He wants.
Jesus says, “Those who are pure, clean, focused on the right things, they will be supremely happy because they will see God. What’s the secret Jesus is revealing here? VISION WORKS BOTH WAYS. You want to see God (point up), then look at your heart (point in). Examine what you value; what you really yearn for. If you treasure Him, desire Him, want Him more than anything else, then you’ll see Him and you’ll see His handiwork in your life.
But here’s OUR SECRET THAT KEEPS US FROM DISCOVERING HIS SECRET: WE ARE IDOLATERS. We allow all these other little gods in our hearts that actually guide our lives: prosperity, health, happiness, acceptance, fulfillment, influence. And when they don’t deliver, we run to God. But when they do, we ignore Him. We’ve grown accustomed to the dirty floors and the smudges on the walls, and the clutter in our hearts. This reveals a heart that is not pure. This reveals a heart that is cluttered and dirty and idolatrous.