Do you need to purify your heart for God?
Every year, in January, we focus on improving our habits and developing a better mindset with resolutions and goal setting. Then, in March and April, we improve the appearance of our physical spaces with spring cleaning and decluttering. We are conscious of the clutter that fills our minds and our homes, but how often do we intentionally focus our attention on tasks that help purify our hearts and clear clutter that keeps us spiritually stagnant?
Having a pure heart is a state of being that is mentioned often in the bible. Throughout the pages of the word, we see examples of characters who were regarded as being pure-hearted as well as those who were not. Understanding purity of heart can be difficult and can leave us feeling inadequate. I encourage you to spend time starting a new springtime routine to purify your heart.
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What does a pure heart mean?
According to Merriam-Webster “pure” is defined as “unmixed with any other matter, free from dust, dirt, or taint.” Often when we think of purity, the initial thought may be a precious metal, specifically gold. Pure gold is free from inclusions and because of this lack of impurities, is also considered valuable.
When discussing how this definition relates to the heart we have to dig a little deeper. One of the most popular scriptures about a pure heart is Matthew 5:8 ESV and it says:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
In this passage, the word pure is translated from the Greek word Katharos, which has three different meanings for us to dig into:
1. Physically clean – like a vine cleansed by pruning and so fitted to bear fruit – in this definition of the word, a pure heart would be one that bears fruit, biblically speaking this could be likened to someone who is prepared to do the work of God
2. Clean in a Levitical sense – the use of which is no forbidden – in much of the bible the difference between what was clean and unclean was very clearly demarcated. People that where considered unclean according to Jewish law, were often rejected until a time in which they were shown to be clean.
Certain animals and items used ceremoniously where also described as clean or unclean. This was all before the sacrifice of Christ negated the need for things to be clean or unclean, because his death atoned for sin.
3. Ethically – free from corrupt desire, free from every admixture of what is false – this definition seems to speak more directly to the understanding of a pure heart. A heart that is pure would be one that is free from evil desires and false teachings.
Each of these definitions gives us an idea of what it means to have a clean heart. They describe what to consider when looking at our own purity, and how to grow in our Christian walk.
What does the Bible say about a pure heart?
The entire bible is a love letter to us from God. The words of the bible tell a story that all points to a savior and a purifier. On our own, we could never be pure enough, but when our bridegroom, Jesus came and gave himself for us, he presented us white as snow. The bible speaks often of a pure heart and reminds us that our purity comes from God.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me Psalm 51:10 ESV
The psalmist here requests purification from God, knowing that on his own, he is prone to unclean thoughts and emotions. He appeals to the father, “create in me a clean heart.” Seeking assistance from the only one who can truly clean the mess of our broken humanity and restore us.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life Proverbs 4:23
This passage of scripture reminds us that a clean heart is something that should be protected. When we choose to follow Jesus and walk the path he has for us, we are choosing to let go of the activities and things that we readily walked in as unbelievers. This does not mean that we will not fail, we have grace for our failures.
We should, however, try to walk in the way of the Word. Guarding our heart is protecting the gift of purity. We do this not to idolize our own purity but to give thanks to God for the gift of grace.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24:3-4
Sin separated us from God. The sacrifice of Jesus cleansed us and restored our access to the Father. This bible verse about purity reminds us that it is only with a pure heart that we can enter the presence of the Father. The Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus purified us so that we may humbly ascend the hill of the Lord.
How can you purify your heart?
Now that we know the ways that God can speak to our hearts and purify us through the process of sanctification, we may wonder what we can do to maintain a lifestyle that is constantly seeking Jesus and his truths. There are 7 simple ways that we can be more intentional about growing in purity.
1. Dwell on the word of God
The number one way to purify your heart is to meditate on the word of God. Spending time in focusing on and filling yourself up on the word of God is the most impactful way to root out the impurities within and to be changed by God.
When we study his word, we are changed. The word of God is living and it breaths life into us. It allows us to see where our thought and our feelings fail to line up with God’s intention. In his word we find wisdom, strength, and directions for living.
2. Spend quiet time with God
Spending quiet time with God goes hand in hand with dwelling on his word. When we take the time to intentionally quiet our thoughts and sit in restful peace with the Father, we open our hearts to allow Him to cleanse us. Our prayer time becomes a space where we can be corrected and encouraged to walk out this life in line with God’s plans for us.
3. Watch Your words to keep a clean heart
Words have power. The words we say can lift others up or can cause hearts to break. A simple word can throw nations into turmoil. In the same sense, a simple “I’m sorry,” can shift the course of the future. Luke 6:45 says,
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
In other words, the things that we fill ourselves up with, are the things that will come out of our mouths. Perhaps you are still in a process of purification, in fact all of us are. Being conscious of the words that we say to people, and to ourselves can help us starve the impurities and become more like Christ.
4. Purify your heart by Monitoring your thoughts
Similarly, the thoughts we allow our minds to harbor can keep us from walking out a life pursuing purity. Society offers us so many ways to cloud our thoughts and distract us from the truth of the love of God. Whether it is the television shows we watch or the music we listen to, everything of this world is set on pushing us away from God.
Have you ever had a moment where you are watching something and impure thoughts seem to run rampant in your mind? This is how easily we can be influenced. But we are told that we are to take captive these flawed thoughts and hold them to the truth of the word of God. This brings us back to our first tip, to dwell on the word of God.
5. Consider The influences Affecting your heart
This means that we should be conscious of who and what has our time and attention. While we are called to be a light to those who do not know the love of God, we also must be mindful of the influence that significant time in the presence of certain people has on the purity of our hearts.
For example, perhaps you have a longtime friend who happens to use a healthy amount of colorful language and speaks about experiences that you know do not line up with the word of God.
If you can be around this person and influence them to seek a lifestyle more in line with the word of God, then the time spent in fruitful. If, on the other hand, you find yourself being influenced, then you may need to reconsider the fruitfulness of this relationship.
6. Be repentant
All of us are sinners and our very best efforts would still not be enough to remain pure in our own strength, but God. He loved us so much that knowing that we would never be able to repay the debt of sin, offered his son as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, and the only thing we need to do to receive this free gift is to believe in Him!
When we believe and repent, God no longer sees our sins, but the purity found by being washed in the blood of Jesus! A repentant heart is a purified heart!
7. Be open to wisdom from others
There are times when we have blind spots, and we miss the mark. Perhaps our prayer life is lacking. God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us fellowship with other believers, the church, as a space where we can be led through godly wisdom to the truth when we are failing to see it for ourselves.
Therefore it is so important to have trusted, godly counselors, friends, and mentors! You want to be surrounded by people who are also seeking to know God more and live according to his word. These people can walk alongside you in your dark hours and remind you of God’s truth.
Have Grace for yourself and others
This life can be hard, and chasing purity can feel impossible, but the Good news is Jesus has overcome it all. We do not have to strive for purity of heart. We only need to seek Jesus as we spend more time with Him and in His presence.
When we sit at his feet and dwell on the power of his word, he changes us. Our hearts are purified and cleansed by his love and sacrifice.
So have grace for yourself, know that when you fall, the Lord is there beside you, reaching His hand out to you and guiding you along the best path for your life.
Be sure to also read: 4 Powerful Ways to Keep Your Heart of Fire for Jesus