What’s in your heart?

The heart is an important part of life. It’s not only physically important, in that our heart pumps blood through our entire body and without it we cannot live. Any medical problem with the heart is a really big deal. Even more important than the physical heart, though, is the deeper meaning of “heart” we often talk about as an invisible quality someone has. Rocky Balboa had “heart” to stay in the fight and keep going. Physically he should have been done, but he kept going because of a deeper, invisible quality.

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

The heart as we use it here is defined as “the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors.” (https://lumina.bible.org/bible/Matthew+5). That is what the heart is. It’s much deeper than the physical.

Someone pure in heart is “one whose motives are unmixed, whose thoughts are holy, whose conscience is clean.” (William MacDonald, “Matthew” in Believer’s Bible Commentary, 3809).

Pure in heart is more than doing good things or being a good person. This is down to the very core of who I am as an individual, made in the image and likeness of God. There is something more going on beneath the surface of someone pure in heart. It is worked out in the physical realm, we can see it, but it comes from somewhere deeper.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – Proverbs 4:23 NLT

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – Luke 6:45 NLT

The pure in heart will see God because they are living faithful lives, following God, and determining in their hearts to live for Him instead of themselves. This is the person who realizes his or her selfish tendencies and lays them at the feet of the cross, looking to Jesus Christ as an example of how to live and trusting in Jesus Christ for eternal life.


How can we live consistently pure in heart? I think there are at least 4 things that can be very beneficial, maybe even essential, to living as someone who is pure in heart:

1. Cultivate daily faithfulness.

Living pure in heart is not a one-time decision that can be over and done with one day and forgotten about the next. This must be a daily, moment-by-moment determination that Jesus Christ is Lord of one’s life. It is a daily recognition we are poor in spirit, mourn after our sin, and live in humility. The pure in heart are comforted because they shall see God.


2. Live in disciplined pursuit.

This is our “personal growth plan.” It must be something intentional and consistent. There’s that old adage, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” We need to make a plan to succeed and be disciplined to do it.


3. Be quick to confess and repent.

The pure in heart are not perfect in heart. Temptation and sin is still an unfortunate present reality while living on this earth, but confession and repentance (a turning away) of sin renews our relationship with God and brings healing and freedom. We should be quick to confess and repent, turning from sin toward God.


4. Live in community.

“No man is an island entire of itself” – John Donne.

We need each other. We need to live in intentional community for the help and healing that come through it. A person who is pure in heart is not living it alone, because it is, if not impossible, incredibly difficult to live pure in heart on our own.




The enemy of the everyday

The Christian life is an everyday thing. I previously wrote a post describing how there is no day off, no vacation, for the true follower of Christ. This is a continuation of that post as I continue to grow in that understanding and think things through on this topic.

The enemy of our faith is the everyday mundane-ness of the Christian faith.

There is power and abundance and joy, for certain. There is security and love, compassion, forgiveness and acceptance.

But faithfulness is an everyday battle we must engage.

There’s a funny Nyquil commercial that’s going around, where a dad walks in to his baby’s room and says, “Dave, I’m sorry to interrupt, I gotta take a sick day tomorrow.” And then the commentator chimes in and says, “Dads don’t take sick days. Dads take Nyquil.”

It’s the same way in our Christian walk! The enemy of everyday is that it’s every day. We don’t get a break. We can’t take a day off.  We don’t get a sick day.

The encouraging news?

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

It can be exhausting and discouraging and overwhelming to realize that we never get a day off. But take heart, because as we live in this world, God gives us rest and joy and courage. He gives us strength and endurance, and gives us the power to persevere.

Let the enemy of everyday drive you to the feet of Jesus. Take up His yoke and His burden. Keep your eyes focused on Christ and your everyday becomes just a little bit easier because it’s not under your own power but under the power given to you by the Holy Spirit.

Faithful in the little things

gop-debate-400x324This weekend I watched some clips from the recent GOP debate. Now I am not very up on politics, definitely not as much as I should be. But as I was watching some of these debate questions and responses, I couldn’t help but notice Donald Trump in particular. He is a big personality. But in this debate it is that very personality that was getting him into trouble.

He was questioned about a “war on women” that he is seemingly engaged in (considering the way he has spoken of some women in the past), some of his more liberal ventures, and the quantity and character of politicians he has donated money to. Though these donations may have been to gain certain business leverage, it calls into question integrity and faithfulness. Trump donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, both his competitor and a woman, which seems to go against his general view of women and also seems to go against his current political party.

Trump did not win himself many favors during the debate. One thing was clear: he will be faithful where he needs to be faithful to get votes and only until that faithfulness has ceased benefiting him, then he will be faithful to someone or something else. Right now he is faithful to the Republican party, but in time, if it becomes more beneficial, he may become faithful to the Democratic party.

Faithfulness is something that often does not arise in the course of normal conversation. Usually faithfulnesswhen it comes up it is preceding by two devastatingly powerful letters “u” and “n.” Unfaithful. It is a term thrown around in divorce courts, Facebook statuses, and all too common articles about pastors and other religious leaders.

Luke 16:10 says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”

Though it may not be commonly spoken of, faithfulness is really one of the most important things in our lives. Faithfulness to going to work, being on time, paying bills, completing homework, going to practice, being faithful with your spouse or your family. Faithfulness is something we actually engage in every day. But we choose what we are faithful to.

The challenge in our busy, sin-filled, crazy, hectic world is to make the time to be faithful in the little things.

The little things make the biggest difference in the long run.

The little things can include being faithful to kiss your spouse, to pray with your spouse, to get in the Word daily, to hug your kids, to be kind to others. These may sound like little, monotonous, daily activities, but they will make a world of difference years from now.

Choose today to live every day faithful to the things that really matter in the scope of eternity, not the things that seem important “right now,” but really are just momentary.