Lesson 8: Blessed Are The Pure In Heart
Matthew 5.8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Pure in heart: not only pure in my actions, not hurting others and loving others as they deserve/need/want to be loved…but also in my intentions and not being distracted by temptations of selfishness, jealousy, envy, ambition, etc. Not just avoiding adulterous affairs but also avoiding lust. It means living each moment consistent with my values and beliefs. “To dream the impossible dream…,” a song from Man of la Mancha, comes to mind immediately. When have I ever been pure in heart? When will I ever be pure in heart? When will I ever be qualified to ascend God’s holy hill or receive His goodness? (Psalms 24.3-4; 73.1)
At our jobs, there are constant temptations to ignore mistakes, omit contradictory data, submit to immoral, unethical and illegal orders from superiors, tell “white lies” to customers like “it’s our policy not to…” We may want to sabotage a competitor’s efforts—maybe even a colleague’s. Often we hope if we ignore a problem, or a complainer, long enough, it/they will go away and we won’t have to deal with the issue. Did any of these things or similar happen today at work when you were tempted to not give your all?
What are the goals for being employed? What do we hope to gain by surrendering to these temptations: more wages, more prestige, more influence, more leisure time, more popularity, making others more envious of us, or…? Maybe it’d be wise to ask what god(s), we’re trying to serve in order to gain these benefits. We might be serving a god of food in order to keep our family fed or live a gourmand lifestyle. Perhaps we have access to other sexual partners outside of marriage at our workplace—or the discretionary money allows us to gain access to such opportunities or a sense of independence. Perhaps we want more entertainment. Perhaps we like being put on a pedestal through our business status. Maybe we want industry or academic recognition awarded by peers. Maybe we just want to worship ourselves, thinking well of our achievements.
…for they shall see God.
Like many self-fulfilling prophecies, or vindication of the adage “Be careful what you wish for”—even Christ’s admonition that where our treasure is, there our heart will be—we might actually recognize the god we’re worshiping. Our thoughts and our actions indicate where our values and beliefs are. “Show me your calendar and I’ll see if you value a relationship with God over family, family over work…or some other order in priorities.” We could accumulate the evidence and do the analysis of which god we’re seeking.
How would we recognize the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? A person pure in heart would not play one god against another until he can achieve what he wants. A person pure in heart goes to God and listens to Him, without reservations—not “I’ll do what you say, Lord, if I like the answer.” We might recognize how He’s answering our prayers if we truly know Him. Like people we love, we would wonder what makes His heart sing and do those things and be those kinds of people in order to hear Him sing.
In many scriptures, God says He’ll hide His face from the perverse, the unfaithful. He will show His face to the upright and virtuous. “Seek and you will find,” Christ says.
As we’ll see in later verses, we may suffer adversity for living with integrity, but Christ says, “Do not worry or be anxious. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.” We seek to serve, rather than be served, for this is what we’re called to do. Even bosses need to be servant leaders. As noted management advisor, Patrick Lencioni, has said, “I’m tired of hearing about servant leadership. To me, it’s the only kind of leadership.”
- Matthew 5.8
- James 1.5-8
- Psalm 24
- Matthew 7.7
- Matthew 6.19-24, 33
- Galatians 5.13; 1 Peter 4.10
- Zephaniah 3.17
1. What are your goals behind your employment today?
2. When you’ve asked God for assistance at your work, or been given advice by friends, how often have you taken the advice?
3. What aspect of God would you most like to see at work?
4.What will you do differently this week?
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Blessed Are the Peacemakers