Contained in this post is the first installment in a three-part series from Gerry's book, Finding Freedom: One Man's Journey Into God and the Treasure He Brought Back.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
— Matthew 5:8
At the end of the day, our soul’s deepest longing—whether we realize it or not—is to see God. The ancients called it "the beatific vision"—the face-to-face encounter with God’s glory that captivates the soul in endless happiness. Let these words of the great Charles Spurgeon transport your heart:
It is one of the most natural desires in all the world, that when we hear of a great and a good man, we should wish to see his person…This feeling becomes doubly powerful when we have any connection with the man; when we feel, not only that he is good to us; not only that he is benevolent, but that he has been a benefactor to us…Then the wish to see him rises to a craving desire.
I am sure you will all confess that this strong desire has arisen in your minds concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. We owe to none so much; we talk of none so much, we hope, and we think of none so much: at any rate, no one so constantly thinks of us. We have I believe, all of us who love his name, a most insatiable wish to behold his person. The thing for which I would pray above all others, would be for ever to behold his face, for ever to lay my head upon his breast, for ever to know that I am his, for ever to dwell with him. Ay, one short glimpse, one transitory vision of his glory, one brief glance at his marred, but now exalted and beaming countenance, would repay…a world of trouble.
Only with a pure heart will we see and experience the reality of God’s glory and presence. And only as we live in the Spirit can we maintain a pure heart!
One of the fundamental keys to experiencing the reality of God’s glory and presence is to live daily with a “pure heart.” The issue is the heart. Only the pure in heart will know the ultimate reality of seeing God’s glory and experiencing the overwhelming reality of His manifest presence. The heart is the headwater of the river of man’s thinking and attitude. When the waters of that spring are polluted, our minds can be deceived and our emotions become destructive. The heart encompasses our mind, will and emotions, and is the source of the motives, values and images that shape our life.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Jesus makes this clear in Mark 7:20-23: “What comes out of man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
All of life’s difficulties arise out of the human heart, which is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). No wonder Solomon says in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart in all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.” And, in Proverbs 23:26, the Lord says, “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Listen to God’s heart when He cries through Moses in Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments that it might be well with them and with their children forever.” So you can readily see how the heart is central to everything…and keeping it pure is one of the most pressing aims of life.
Stay tuned for Part 2: "A Heart of Single Focus...or a Heart Defiled?"