To read more from Hannah and her fellow blogger, visit Purposeful Purity.
The inspiration for this post came from a John Tauler quotation (don’t be put off by the universalist beliefs- the quote is excellent!) He says:
“A pure heart is a heart which finds its whole and only satisfaction in God…to which all that is not of God is strange and jarring”
How we do we become so pure? Indeed, why should we try to be, since salvation is guaranteed to the believer?
We know that we should be searching for purity- but our security in Christ can so often allow our sinful hearts to slide into apathy: an acceptance of the unacceptable. What should our motivation for purity be?
-It is preparation for heaven. We must learn to love heavenly aspects of this earth- the other ones will be taken away! (Matt 6v20)
-It is a witness to others. Our removal from the world is a witness to the life changing power of Christ. (Philippians 2v15)
Finally, however, and perhaps most importantly, by seeking purity we are enabling ourselves to know, and therefore love, God more. A Christ-like attitude enables us to delight more fully in our heavenly father. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matt. 5v8)
What a promise! To see God! The same God who, in exodus, said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33v20) Through Jesus’ mediation, our longing for purity will lead us to the face of our heavenly father.
How does one cultivate a pure heart- and make everything alien to God a ‘strange and jarring’ concept?
–We must remove the things that choke and poison our hearts. (Excuse the continuation of the gardening metaphor…) This is, of course, impossible. To be pure is to be like Jesus. Utterly without sin. Even when our outward actions seem to express a Christian attitude, our hearts remain corrupt and broken and selfish. We can’t just accept this. It may sound odd, but I think we should be willing to spend our entire earthly lives frustrated by our own sin and how far we are from God. We should be constantly pushing ourselves forward into his presence.
-The Bible also seems to make it clear that purity is only possible through suffering and hardship. As Spurgeon says, “The furnace of affliction is a good place for you, Christian; it benefits you; it helps you to become more like Christ, and it is fitting you for heaven.” When God promises to “refine (his people) like silver and test them like gold” (Zechariah 13v9) it is not a promise that this process will be painless. Suffering is by no means always an act of discipline, but when it is we have the choice of delighting in returning to God or rebelling against his cleansing of our hearts.
Our desire to stand before God with a pure heart is one that he will honour, when we ask him for it. How often do we ask him to purify us?