In May, I wrote about God’s vows to his children and I focused on several verses, one found in Psalm 86:11-13. And it was the phrase “Grant me purity of heart” that jumped out at me (vs 11b). So for the month of June I have been looking at purity of heart and what that could mean.
As I contemplated this, I thought about my focus…where my heart was focused. As I have been desiring to live more like Christ, living to please Him, it is not surprising that I would be focusing on this concept. I can’t remember how I happened upon the Colossians 3:1-17 passage but it was a perfect starting point for purity of heart. I encourage you to read the entire passage as I have only listed some of it below.
Colossians 3:1-17 (NLT) says, “Since you have been raised to a new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you…In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you…Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise…”
In the middle of this verse, it lists how you must clothe yourself – tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humilty, gentleness, patience, make allowances for one another, forgive others, and, most importantly, love. Love binds everything together and it promotes peace. I like how it says “do not think only about things down here on earth” (emphasis mine). Our families and friends, the things we care about, etc, are important and with proper perspective they are not the only things we care about…they are an extention of our first focus. Through our focus on Christ and how we are to clothe ourselves, filters down to our relationships and the things we do.
Purity of heart, therefore, is taking the focus off ones self and placing onto God…away from the world and onto the “realities of heaven” where Christ is. From this action, how we relate to others and how we go about our day changes too. We move away from a self focus to an others focus perspective.
Romans 12:1-3, Paul pleads with us to give our bodies over to Christ, to be transformed by God so that we will know what God wants us to do and how perfect his will is. Our focus is on Christ and not ourselves.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says that we are to strip off the things that weigh us down, things that hinder us…focus on Christ…
You probably wonder why should we do this…in Jeremiah 32:39 it says, within the context of God’s promise of the restoration of his people, that he “will give them one heart and mind to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of their descendents.” No matter what we think, it really all comes down to what God wants us to do…we are to worship him forever, and it is with our lives and our focus that we do this.
And Psalm 86:11-13 says it all… “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death!”
I am far from perfect in this focus…I know that my heart and mind tends to wander…and knowing this, I am determined to keep a proper focus with Christ’s help because he renews me as I learn more and more about him (Colossians 3:10).