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15th December: Beatitudes (6) -- The Heart of Every Problem is the Problem of the Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Mt 5:8

Jesus here gives us another of the results of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. He reaches the very core of the Christian faith with this beatitude, for the heart is the centre of our being and includes mind, emotions and will. The state of our heart determines all that we think, say and do. The Pharisees were concerned with the `outside' -- in what they were seen to do, and this may have seemed above reproach. But their hearts were not right, and their attitude was often bitter and resentful. It was just `whitewash', and Christ's comments about them were far from complimentary (Mt 23:23-28). But might he not have been equally disappointed with us? Correct words and behaviour can often hide a twisted outlook. In our dealings with patients and colleagues we can become skilled at hiding our insincerity behind a convincing facade. Do we really mean all that we say? Are we really as honest and noble as we make out? Do we really care as much as we appear to do?

A pure heart is a united heart (Ps 86:11) -- with an undivided love and loyalty. It is a heart cleansed by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ps 51:10). The blessing that follows is the privilege of `seeing God' -- not with our physical eyes, since no man can see him and live (Ex 3:20). The invisible God is made visible as he reveals himself to our spiritual eyes by the Lord Jesus, who said `He that hath seen me hath seen the Father' (Col 1:15. Jn 14:9).

But a day is coming when we shall no longer see `through a glass darkly' but face to face (1 Cor 13:12), for `we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure' (1 Jn 3:2-3 GNB).

Oh for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free...
A humble, lowly contrite heart,
Believing, true and clean...
A heart in every thought renewed,
And filled with love divine,
Perfect, and right, and pure, and good,
A copy, Lord of Thine!

Charles Wesley

Further reading: Ps 51.


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