Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jesus: The One Who Purifies Our Hearts

The [oil] refinery for petroleum and other products what your heart should do for you. Refinery takes out the bad and utilizes the good. We tend to think of the heart as the seat of emotion. We speak of “heartthrobs,” “heartaches,” and “broken hearts.”

But when Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8), He was speaking in a different context. To Jesus’ listeners, the heart was the totality of the inner person – the control tower, the cockpit. The heart was thought of as the seat of the character – the origin of desires, affections, perceptions, thoughts, reasoning, imagination, conscience, intentions, purpose, will, and faith.

Thus a proverb admonished, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). To the Hebrew mind, the heart is a freeway clover-leaf where all emotions and prejudices and wisdom converge. It is a switch house that receives freight cars loaded with moods, dead emotions and convictions and puts them on the right track.

And just as low-grade oil or alloyed gasoline would cause you to question the performance of a refinery, evil acts and impure thoughts cause us to question the condition of our hearts… The heart is the centre of the spiritual life. If the fruit of a tree is bad, you don’t try to fix the fruit; you treat the roots. And if a person’s actions are evil, it’s not enough to change habits; you have to go deeper. You have to go to the heart of the problem, which is the problem of the heart…

And Jesus’ statement rings true: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Note the order of this beatitude: first purify the heart, then you will see God.
[From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado]

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