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The Transformational Gospel of Jesus #16: Are you seeing God more clearly now?

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

If Jesus had said, “Blessed are they that are working hard to be good—are morally straight—are aware of their failings,” this beatitude would not feel like the impossible. Pure in heart? How is this even possible? The asking of that last question reminds us how much we see our faith journey in different terms from Jesus. He is not suggesting pure in heart as a goal. He is telling us this will happen to us. It is a blessing, not an objective. Remember that in the Beatitudes Jesus describes for us the process of our faith journey through the work of the Spirit rather than setting out a series of rules to follow.

As you experience shedding of the grip that sin has had on you, the life of Jesus in you comes alive by the power of the Spirit. You are now living life abundantly, as he promised. You start understanding that your sin in me choices have not only damaged your soul, they have made it impossible for you to know God as He is. Shame or defiance has marked your relationship with Him up to this point.

Instead of being blinded to God as the consequence of your unfinished business, the haze now is lifting. What has kept you away from God are the lies you have believed about Him. These lies have distorted God’s beauty and approachability for you. You have not only failed to see Him as He is—Abba, Father—but you have questioned His trustworthiness and often assumed the worst about Him when you deigned to think of Him at all.

Purity opens our eyes to see that God is not like our human parents. Because we can only speak about God using human language, we have this tendency to interpret God through the filter of our human relationships. We put the kind of human face on God which reflects the brokenness of our own relationships. And then we blindly dance, not to God’s tune, but to the tune of a god we have created. I recently heard an interview of a prominent believer in which she talked about growing up with a father from whom she had to earn love, so she saw God that way for years. I do not know your parental experiences. They may have been excellent or brutal, close or smothering, controlling or indifferent. Many personal wounds have their genesis in family home life. Accept this truth—much of what you have projected on God comes from this part of your past, and it keeps you from a relationship with God that is naked and unafraid.

As God progressively heals you, you will hunger and thirst for righteousness. It is when you are being filled that you begin to see God as He is for the first time. The further you journey, the more you will come to know God better. His being will become clearer to you. Whatever forms the enemy’s lies took for you now fail to deceive you as they once did. God’s will becomes your delight. His Word lights your journey. His purpose for you shifts from being a burden to a joyful occupation that you enter into with passion.

Your personal time with God changes. In the past you may have dreaded coming before God, expecting a recounting of your failures and sins by Him. Or you expected nothing and got nothing—no hope, not comfort, no peace. Or maybe your time with God was a long recital of requests: bless Johnny, bless mother, do this, answer that. Your prayers were your duty and you popped in daily to make sure you could check that off your to do list. But you recall little personal interaction in these times with God. You were not sure your prayer got beyond the ceiling of the room. As you become pure in your heart, you discover prayer brings you peace and freedom in being with God. You open your heart to Him and experience His restorative presence without measure. That is the transforming blessing of this Beatitude.

Steve Smith