How we see is connected to our hearts. I used to think that this verse meant or only meant that the more pure my heart was, that I stood a better chance of seeing God. The song, "Open The Eyes of My Heart", by Paul Baloche, from 1998; exemplified this.
I wanted to see God. My goal was the know God, like the title of the best selling J.I. Packer book. I also thought that the second part is indeed, "to make Him known".
Knowing God and making Him known still sounds good and that was my motto for many years. And that is how I saw purity of heart.
But what I have learned in this middle season of my life, is that God is about making me be like Jesus and experiencing the life of Christ all the time.
I have learned, been learning, that God cares more about how I live all the time.
God cares about how I treat people and how I see people. We see people, have a thought and take an action.
Christ followers have given God their hearts. Our hearts overrule our minds. Our thoughts are governed by our hearts.
If our heart is not in the right place, our thoughts will be askew.
God wants us to look at people from mercy filled hearts that are standing with righteousness.
If we are on our way to seeing God, because of the clearness of the lens of our hearts, we are going to see people more and more, the way that God does.
Jesus is Lord and King, but he is also the servant. In Christ, we are meek and lowly, always trusting God and at the service of others, while not at all striving, but resting in the Father (Matt. 11;29).
I am learning that God wants me to see people the way He does. I am also learning to see God the way that Jesus does. The life of Christ, the Christian life, is the life of seeing God and seeing people.
In each interaction with people. As I witness others in their speaking and acting, and in how I react or respond; the question is, "Am I seeing them as God sees them, from a pure heart?"
A pure heart is a heart that loves God. The outward life will match the inward life of a lover of God.
The person who loves God with all their heart, soul and strength (Deut. 6:5) will show it in not just what they say or do; but in how they live their life, seeing God. This is what Hebrews 11:27 is saying:
By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees Him who is invisible.Seeing God has always been the highest goal. It is a goal that is only fully realized in the afterlife. Our whole lives are lived as ones who desire to see God.
Seeing God is an "already and not yet" concept. In the now, God is changing, purifying our hearts, so that we can see how He sees, and then in the future, we will see Him clearly.
Right now, for the most part, we are seeing Him who is invisible. And He is training us to see how He sees. Jesus is also training us to see and do what the Father is doing (John 5:19).
Each of the beatitudes (fortunate states) build upon each other. They are circular and organic, like art or music. Purity of heart is the result of something.
People with pure hearts have already gone through something. They already have other processes happening in their lives.
These five blessed states of good fortune (beatitudes) have already been going on, in the person's life, who has purity of heart:
- The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
- Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted.
- The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth.
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.
- The merciful are blessed, for they will be shown mercy.
Each verse sounds good alone and people might quote one of these on a card or for an encouragement. But they were given in a certain order and in a context. The sixth blessing or blessed state of purity of heart comes after the previous five.
A person who has a pure heart:
- will fully see God one day
- sees as God sees
- sees God working in other people today
The first three beatitudes are about our realization of our need for God. We are powerless and we are not God. We who have been through the doorway of the first three blessings have become convicted of our personal sin.
We who have realized we are poor in spirit, mourn and have taken on a life of meekness, because of the humility he have from being humbled to know our weakness, have come into a place of hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
This is very different than someone who 'parachutes in' to Christianity and says that they hunger and thirst for righteousness. That person is something different, from the one being described here.
It is from the place of humility that the meek person thirsts and hungers for righteousness, that God fills. That person, in turn, becomes a merciful person; who receives and gives, then gives and receives more mercy.
And that person becomes the person who sees God.
If you do not see as God sees, with mercy, then you may have forgotten or are forgetting how much you need God and have stopped living in humility, and may even have stopped hungering for God's righteousness and have become enamoured at you own.
Have you stopped being humble? Have you stopped mourning? Have you become so strong or knowledgable that you are no longer meek, gentle or kind?
That is the kind of person who can not see God. They think and say that they see God and are telling us that, but they are seeing with distortion or with their own imaginations. Because you can not have the good fortune of seeing God, while neglecting or forgetting your own bankrupted state of depravity or insubordination, outside of God's grace that comes only to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
The people who have pure hearts are people who have been mourning about the impurity in their hearts. Vision of God comes from acknowledging that I am blind. Seeing people the way God sees people is the result of my grieving that I don't see them and I don't get them the way God does.
And this is not a formula, but a life.
When I realize that God loves me, I become secure enough to see God's love for others and see others through the love of God. If I a not secure in God's love, if I do not know He loves me and if I am not living as one who is loved; then I am going to have real problems seeing other people through God's love.
In these profound sayings, the beatitudes or blessed states or good fortune; Jesus says how the life works and how it works is inside-out.
The pure heart comes from this place of humility and absolute surrender to God. The work that is already going on in a person, results in purity of heart, which gives a person vision.
If you can not see what God is doing or if you can not see a person with God, then you have a heart problem. When I am critical of someone, ungracious, not generous, impatient, or oppositional; I might not be seeing the person with God.
God is after changing our hearts. We don't want to be people who do the right thing or say the right thing, but have not been transformed in our hearts.