“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

When I was a kid the only time we had ice cream was when it snowed. It was a big deal when Mom would mix the snow with milk, sugar, and vanilla (I think), then my four sisters and I would slurp it down and get a big brain freeze (I didn’t know what to call it at the time). The last time I had snow ice cream was, well, I think last winter. I still love it.

On occasion there was one big problem in making snow ice cream, and that was Mom. She had this idea that the first snow cleaned out the air and was not suitable for making ice cream since it was filled with all the nasty things hanging in the air all year. And silly me, I just thought you avoided yellow snow. I don’t know, maybe the same thing happened when it rained but we didn’t make anything out of rain to eat or drink so it never came up, except Mom and my sisters caught rain water and washed their hair in it. I think there is somewhat of a contradiction there somewhere.

Anyway, we were disappointed when we couldn’t have “first snow” ice cream which sometimes was the only snow of the year (gotta love the southwest)! There are sayings about being as pure as the “new driven snow” which doesn’t jive with Mom’s theory. However, there is nothing as beautiful and pure looking as a morning of fresh undisturbed new snow. Purity and white seem to go together.

As mentioned in the original “Open letter to the Family,” I’m following a list of topics from Pray! Magazine and the next in line was, guess what? “Purity.” Every time I try to find something interesting to say about it I practice avoidance. I always seem to have a reason to do something else and put it off. The problem came when I decided the perfect verse on purity was Matt. 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” As we all know, when you begin to try and understand one verse, that leads you to many more verses and questions. This one much more than others, it seems.

At first it seems that to “see God” would refer to the end of the ages. Except, on judgement day everyone will see God, not just the pure in heart, so it must be about here and now. The next question that comes to mind is, what exactly is pure in heart? Back to what is, is. There is another verse that seems to fit here. In Matt. 15:18-20, Jesus, in explaining what goes into the mouth and what comes out of the mouth states, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”

If these behaviors are “unclean”, or not pure, then the opposite should be “pure.” In order, the opposites would be something like: Godly thinking, supporting life, fidelity, sexual purity, giving/generosity, truthfulness, seeing the best in everyone and encouragement. As such, surely they would be the product of a “pure heart.”

Pat and I were trying to think of people we know whom we thought would fit the category of having a “pure heart.” Other than each other (not), we had a hard time coming up with names, which probably means we’re hanging out with the wrong Christians, or maybe the right ones. We managed four or five, which when each name was mentioned, we readily agreed. It’s almost like you who does and who doesn’t.

There is a difference between having a “saved heart”, and having a “pure heart.” Some who profess Christ have difficulty resisting the world system and seem to compartmentalize their beliefs. Their world view is essentially secular, but yet if asked, they would say they’re born again. They are carnal Christians (if there’s such a thing). That brings up the age old question of “once saved, always saved.”

Then there are those who have a “saved heart”, seek the heart of God, and have a Biblical world view. God is changing them little by little into the likeness of Jesus. These Christians have an occasional lapse of the flesh and are truly repentant, and thank God for the grace that will cleanse from all unrighteousness.

I remember being in the presence of a Christian whom I admired, who had a lapse and “lost it.” I was dumfounded by this person’s vile words and behavior (not directed at me). As a new Christian my heart was wounded and discouraged. But I also remember a time when I did a similar thing and immediately looked at the person with me to see the surprise, shock, and disappointment in his eyes. I have never forgotten both of these situations. I repented more than once for that behavior (and others since). I think that this represents the majority of Christians who are living for the Lord and being changed little by little into the likeness of Jesus, which will be completed at our glorification.

Then there are those who seem to belong to the “pure of heart” crowd. These Christians seem to be cut from a different pattern. They have the simple faith of a child. They see God in every situation. They are always gracious. They are always giving. They love unconditionally. Now maybe behind closed doors they are raging tyrants, but not likely. It’s not the nice “churchy” people we may see once a week at church, but the ones whom we get to know and observe their fruit. Paul Bucknell describes these “pure in heart” as ones who, “Have a devoted and singularity of heart which enables them to disregard distractions which call them away from their main mission to supremely love God.” I believe these people “see God” more often and more clearly than the rest of us and are blessed because of it.

It’s amazing that the Bible ascribes to the heart an incredible variety of attributes that include emotion, will, condition, belief (or lack of), logic, evil, love, hate, joy and many more. And today we ascribe many of the same. The heart is the essential core of our being and somehow connected with our soul and spirit. My desire, and that of every Christian is to echo king David: “Create in me a pure heart O God.”







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