Purity culture is cancelled…or, is it? What if I told you purity culture isn’t just about sex? What if I told you that not only society got it wrong, but a lot of the time, the church gets it wrong, too? So what exactly was Jesus talking about when He spoke of purity? It’s time to learn the true meaning for ourselves!
I recently led a bible study with a group of friends based on the beatitudes. I specifically focused on Matthew 5:8 which says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
In learning what “blessed are the pure in heart” means, we will discuss how we can make sure we don’t miss out on the opportunity to see God, and what it truly means to live out a life that pleases Him. Pursuing purity is not what you think. I pray you embrace the fact that God isn’t expecting perfection from you; He wants an open heart that chases after Him.
Why does the condition of your heart matter?
The condition of your heart matters because Christ sees. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” No one may know your deepest darkest secrets, thoughts, and feelings but God sees you for who you really are. He cares that we don’t remain the same (especially, on the inside!) when we accept Him into our lives.
One of my favorite verses says, “the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” So the condition matters because what you hold on the inside will eventually make its way out of you and has the power to speak life or death.
The heart is a place that can be invaded with evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. According to Matthew 15:18-19, these are all things that defile us.
The condition of our hearts matters to God because He didn’t just send His one and only Son on earth to die for bad habits. Christ came for total transformation from the inside out.
Jesus isn’t a fan of hypocrites…
In Matthew 23:25–26, Jesus says, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First, wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”
We cannot be overly concerned with how we look on the outside when our insides tell a completely different story. We cannot have an air of self-importance when we all sin. We cannot puff ourselves with religious rules and neglect our relationship with our Father. Jesus calls us to take the speck out of our own eyes and pursue Him fully.
Reforming the manners of society isn’t the goal of Christ. Jesus is concerned with changing the manners of all hearts– the hypocritical ones, the not-so-hypocritical ones, everyone.
What Does It Mean To Be Pure in Heart?
According to David, the man known after God’s own heart, purity is to truthfully seek the face of the Lord (Psalm 24:6)
In the book of James, we learn that double-mindedness means choosing friendship with the world and in turn, becoming enemies of God (James 4:4-8). To have a pure heart is to have an undivided heart; it is total allegiance to King Jesus. Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
The pure heart is not one in pursuit of selfish gain. Remember when I mentioned Jesus isn’t a fan of hypocrites? In 1 Timothy 1:5, we see that believers are to be “filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” I love how John Piper says, “God is the one who purifies the heart, and the instrument with which he cleans it is faith.”
So then, is being “pure in heart” actually possible?
Sure it is– by faith! If pursuing purity wasn’t attainable, Jesus wouldn’t have mentioned it! If it weren’t possible, we wouldn’t be presented the opportunity to see God. The grace of God is what makes purity attainable.
Okay, how can we attain purity?
Purity is synonymous with holiness and God has called us to live lives of holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
None of us are perfect but through Christ, we have the power to overcome anything that is evil and nothing like our God (Matthew 5:48). This life is a journey and thank God, we have salvation as our purification process (1 Peter 1:22). The cleaning agent of salvation is activated through our obedience. The more we obey God’s Word. the more we become like Christ (holy and faultless in every way).
Again purity (or a life of holiness) does not mean perfection. Rather, it means you armor up against any sinful habit, thoughts, and actions and put them to death in order to come alive in Christ.
Obedience to God is how we truly become pure in heart.
Purity on earth does not equal perfection.
Let go of the pressure to be perfect. It is God alone that purifies our hearts. God gives us grace for the times we fall and allow us into His presence to try again and again with Him.
A pure heart is the willingness to change, the willingness to serve, and obey. It is the willingness to ask God to search our hearts, cleanse it, and lead us in ways of everlasting.