The Beautiful Attitudes – Part VI: Blessed are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8 NET)

Have you ever noticed that when you insert an object (e.g., a straw) in a glass of liquid (e.g., water), the straw looks split in two or bent? A straw seems this way in water because the light is forced to change course or refract when it moves from the air into the water. The light will again change course when it leaves the water to go back into the air. However, if there was no liquid in the glass, the straw would not appear bent (the glass-to-air transition and back causes very slight refraction). Similarly, what we perceive about things around us depends on the contents of our spiritual hearts (i.e., what we have filled our spiritual hearts with).

In the same way, what you believe about God is bent or distorted by the things you have learned by spiritual heart (1) in life. For instance, if you had a father who was merciful and fair, then you would likely see God as the excellent Father that He is in reality.

He is a father to the fatherless and an advocate for widows. God rules from his holy palace. (Psalm 68:5 NET)
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. (Psalm 103:13 NET)
From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. May mercy, peace, and love be lavished on you! (Jude 1–2 NET)
(See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God’s children—and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NET)

However, if you had an overly strict father, you will likely perceive God as waiting for you to make a mistake so He can catch and condemn you! 

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What do you see first: young or old female? It depends on who you are.

This has been called the “lens” principle, and I believe our selected verse conveys this. This principle can be simply stated as who we are determines what we see, including how we see others (2). That is, we project upon others our personal biases, motives, prejudices, idiosyncrasies, etc.

For example, what if a female investigator is assigned to investigate a male leader who has been charged with creating a hostile work environment by a female worker. Perhaps this female investigator has seen numerous cases where the male is guilty and may even have been the victim of such a situation. Consequentially, it would be easy for the investigator to project her biases upon the male, thus seeing him as guilty, when, in fact, it was the female worker using false accusations to discredit the male leader. Why? Perhaps discrediting, the leader would be used to effectively render ineffectual, an evaluation that revealed the female worker’s previously undocumented substandard performance that had existed for years?

Now that we are equipped with this understanding of the lens principle, we re-state our verse, successful are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God as He really is (i.e., without distortion) (Matthew 5:7).

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where demons, fallen angels, Satan, and this fallen world system are constantly bombarding us with thoughts that are contrary to God.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12 NET)
because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. (1 John 2:16 NET)
We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 NET)
For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down argumentsand every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. We are also ready to punish every act of disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3–6 NET)

If we continually listen to these thoughts, they will fill our spiritual hearts so that we cannot see God as He is in reality.

Others are the ones sown among thorns: They are those who hear the word, but worldly cares, the seductiveness of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it produces nothing. (Mark 4:18–19 NET)
No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12 NET)

The solution to this problem is to transform our thinking (1) by reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God (i.e., the Bible) in the power of the Holy Spirit (1) and then giving to others the grace, mercy, and compassion that God reveals and gives to us. (1)

Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NET)
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him,—since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened—so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength. This power he exercised in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the church as head over all things. Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:17–23 NET)
But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside as well? But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11:39–41)
Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.” (Luke 6:38 NET)

Over time, this will remove and replace the thoughts of our spiritual hearts that are contrary to God with those that accurately portray Him as He is in reality. 

"By mercy and love, truth and fidelity [to God and man--not by sacrificial offerings], iniquity is purged out of the heart, and by the reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord men depart from and avoid evil." Proverbs 16:6 AMP
Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! (Psalm 51:10 NET)
Open my eyes so I can truly see the marvelous things in your law! (Psalm 119:18 NET)
I will give them the desire to acknowledge that I am the Lord. I will be their God and they will be my people. For they will wholeheartedly return to me.’ (Jeremiah 24:7 NET)

However, some who start the renewal process do not finish it and have a limited view of God. For example, some may study the truth that God is full of grace, mercy, and compassion exclusively, thus developing the fact God will forgive sin if we repent.

Yet the Lord our God is compassionate and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him. (Daniel 9:9 NET)
The one who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy. (Proverbs 28:13 NET)
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NET)

While this is undoubtedly true, it is equally true that God is full of holiness, righteousness, and justice. Those who do not learn this latter aspect of God would question how a loving God could judge it right for someone who appears to be a good person to go to Hell upon death (1).

Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Luke 18:19 NET)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NET)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NET)
The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it? I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds. I examine people’s hearts. I deal with each person according to how he has behaved. I give them what they deserve based on what they have done. The person who gathers wealth by unjust means is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:9–11 NET)

Juxtaposed to this would be someone who exclusively studied the truth that God is holy and righteous, and just with the result that they become unmerciful and condemning to all that do not measure up to what they consider God’s standards. Those who do not learn the grace, mercy, and compassion side of God might question why God would judge it right for someone who appears to be a bad person to go to Heaven upon their death (1).

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9 NET)
The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36 NET)
“I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24 NET)
because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved . For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9–13 NET)

This duality of God  (1)(6) can be illustrated by a simple electrical circuit where both wires must be connected to a light bulb and a power source for it to illuminate the darkness. Similarly, we must understand that God is full of grace, mercy, compassion, AND full of holiness, righteousness, and justice to illuminate the whole truth about Him.  Then, we can see Him as He is in truth.

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, for without it no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14 NET)
For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 NET)
Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)
I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness. (John 12:46 NET)
Jesus replied, “The light is with you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them. (John 12:35–36 NET)
Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5–7 NET)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. (John 1:1–5 NET)
Now when Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he went into Galilee. While in Galilee, he moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach this message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:12–17  NET)

Furthermore, seeing God as He is in reality also affects who we are due to the spiritual principle that you become like who or what you worship (1) for good or bad.

Their idols are made of silver and gold— they are man-made. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see, ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell, hands, but cannot touch, feet, but cannot walk. They cannot even clear their throats. Those who make them will end up like them, as will everyone who trusts in them. (Psalm 115:4–8 NET)(cf. Psalm 135:15–18)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17,18 NET)

That is, by disciplining ourselves to purify our spiritual hearts, we will see God as He is with the result that we will become a people that are full of grace, mercy, and compassion AND full of holiness, righteousness, and justice (i.e., just like Him!).

Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure). (1 John 3:2–3 NET)

In conclusion, realize because God is full of holiness, righteousness, and justice, He cannot tolerate or overlook our sins. Nevertheless, because God is also full of grace, mercy, and compassion, He has provided a way for sinners to escape His wrath by sacrificing His spotless, sinless Son, Jesus Christ (1).

But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him. (Isaiah 53:4–6 NET)
He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth. When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:22–25 NET)

He was the only one qualified to sacrifice for sin, and because He never sinned, His pure blood can wash away our sins, allowing us to stand justified before God on the Day of Judgment.

From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from “he who is,” and who was, and who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ—the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood (Revelation 1:4–5 NET)
Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20–21 NET)
But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4–7 NET)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, (Hebrews 10:19 NET)

However, we must take the necessary steps (1) to appropriate Jesus’ blood to our lives.

because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved . For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9–13 NET)

Consequently, the justice and mercy of God have never contradicted each other. In fact, our Creator God balances the two qualities perfectly. (5)

As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just. He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright. (Deuteronomy 32:4 NET)
The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6–7 NET)
Equity and justice are the foundation of your throne. Loyal love and faithfulness characterize your rule. (Psalm 89:14 NET)
Loyal love and faithfulness meet; deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. (Psalm 85:10 NET)

Lastly, if your god leaves you fearful, you need a new God! (3).

Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you so that you do not sin.” (Exodus 20:20 NET)
The Lord your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love; he shouts for joy over you.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NET)
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:16–18 NET)
For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 NET)
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15–17 NET)

A God that:

– You can approach without fear – the real God!

“As far as I am concerned, this is like in Noah’s time, when I vowed that the waters of Noah’s flood would never again cover the earth. In the same way I have vowed that I will not be angry at you or shout at you. Even if the mountains are removed and the hills displaced, my devotion will not be removed from you, nor will my covenant of friendship be displaced,” says the Lord, the one who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:9–10 NET)
Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 NET)

– No matter what you do to please Him, He cannot love you more, and whatever you do to hurt Him, He cannot love you any less.

(See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God’s children—and indeed we are! For this reason the world does not know us: because it did not know him. (1 John 3:1 NET)
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39 NET)
And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. (1 John 4:16 NET)

– Gave his life for you.

No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 NET)
But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation. (Romans 5:8–11 NET)

That is, you need God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you find Him by knowing Jesus (1), His unique Son!

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God. (John 3:16–21 NET)
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Matthew 11:27–30 NET)
But Jesus shouted out, “The one who believes in me does not believe in me, but in the one who sent me, and the one who sees me sees the one who sent me. (John 12:44–45 NET)
The one who hates me hates my Father too. (John 15:23 NET)
Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NET)
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9 NET)
Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (John 5:22–23 NET)

Now that is something to have a BEAUTIFUL ATTITUDE about!

The Lord is my Shepherd. I have all I need. He leads me by the quiet stream where I can rest and be refreshed. He takes away all my anxious thoughts and gives me hope. He guides me in the right direction and is utterly dependable. When I face unknown dangers, or even death, I’m not afraid. His peace overwhelms me. Even when I am attacked on all sides, I know I’m safe. His presence and provision surrounds me, and I’m comforted by His Spirit. Love and mercy always follow me, and I’m confident that I’ll remain with Him for ever. (4) (Psalms 23:1-6)
The Beautiful Attitudes Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Winning With People by John Maxwell

(3) Stepping Stones to the Father Heart of God by Margaret Silvester, Sovereign World Ltd, ISBN 978-1852406233

(4) My Shepherd by Ron Scurfield, Seeds of the Kingdom Daily Devotional August 21, 2013, Ellel Ministries International;

(5) Adapted from What the Bible Teaches about Mercy, Authored by Rex B. Andrews May 1, 1964, Published in 1985 by Zion Faith Homes, Zion, Illinois 60099

(6) Binary Truths by Jilly Lyon Taylor, Seeds of the Kingdom Daily Devotional October 15, 2016, Ellel Ministries International:

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home. 

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