Cultivating a Purity of Heart
- Seek the face of God. Greater vision of God comes as we seek God to renew and restore our heart. The Christian is more concerned with seeking God for his sanctifying grace that we might be changed. God must do the work in us. Come desperately and confidently for grace. Like David cried out in earnest for purity: "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me; Create in me a pure heart, O God" (Psalm 51:7, 10).
- Feast on the word of God. Greater vision of God comes as we feast on the words of God in scripture. There is no doubt that the majority of Christians would hold a view of the scriptures as the word of God, yet how often do we turn to other things for help before the scriptures. It is in the scriptures we see the glory and greatness of God helping us in fighting fear. It is in the scriptures we see the perfect work of Jesus on the cross giving us comfort in the sufficiency of his forgiveness. It is in the scriptures we see our sin as the power of the Spirit convicting leading us to God for repentance. It is in the scriptures we see the promises of God leading us to hope and grace in midst of struggle. "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you" (John 15:3).
- Consider the return of Jesus. Greater vision of God comes as we look to Jesus’ return. Considering his return is not to avoid dealing with the struggles in life but to keep fresh in our mind the greater goal of life. It is not to live as happily as we can but to hunger for his return so that we can be with him forever. Imagine that day when you will gaze upon God, the giver and sustainer of your life. The Christian burns longingly to see the face of our King and your Savior, which leads to purity. Consider these words from 1 John 4:2, 3: "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."
- Examine your motives for actions and choices. Greater vision of God comes as we examine our motivations. Be honest with God about yourself. Ask the Spirit to help you. Take a moment to ask why do I come to church? Is it to fulfill some self-imposed obligation or to glorify God? Do we have devotional times to fall deeper in love with God or to save us from guilt? Why do I serve in ministry, is it to be praised or to honor God with the use of your gifts? Why am I angry, is it over an offense to God’s glory or my name? Why am I happy, is it because God is honored or because it worked out for me? We need to be rigorous in examining our hearts.
- Repent from idols. Greater vision of God comes as we identify and eliminate nasty competitors with God. A mixed love is like a marriage where the husband wants to keep a few women on the side. Take caution, we live in a culture where we are bombarded with distractions that seek to draw our attention. The advertising industry is designed to create needs that distract us from our greatest need by creating new needs. Confess the other loves which have entered your heart making God second such as popularity, envy, lust, materialism, or good things, even family and ministry.
- Confess hypocrisy. Greater vision of God comes as we confess our hypocrisy to one another. Tear down the facades that we build to impress people or insulate ourselves from truly being known. I understand trust takes time and careless vulnerability is a bad thing, but most of us are nowhere near that danger. Relationships in the church and care groups will never be as significant if we fail to walk in truth and sincerity before others. "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8).