Heart Purity in an Impure World

Daily Devotional: Day 186

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8, KJV).

Most people, even if they won’t admit it, care a lot about what others think of them: some to a greater degree, others to a lesser degree. It’s about appearance and perception. What we see on the outside is often the basis for how we evaluate people. Nothing is necessarily wrong with that. The only problem is that things are not always as they seem. Here is where the human heart becomes important. It is possible to appear one way on the outside, but have the very opposite in one’s heart. You can, for example, smile on the outside but be mad in your heart (cf. Psalm 62:4).

 Jesus challenged the religious leaders of his day to first work on their heart. He once said, “You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean” (Matthew 23:26). He was speaking metaphorically. Jesus noticed, just like today, that some  people put on the appearance of being clean and pure, but their heart is full of filth. Jesus’s message was, and is, to first make one’s heart pure; then, the outside will be pure also.

Consequently, Christianity is a religion of heart purity. It concerns itself with transforming lives by first emphasizing a change of heart. When your heart becomes pure, your behavior will respond accordingly. But, if your heart isn’t transformed, your behavior will show the corresponding symptoms of impurity.

God is pure, and he is attracted to those who are pure in heart. In today’s Scripture reading, Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” If your heart is pure, Jesus says you are blessed; you shall see God. This means, without heart purity, no one can see God or spend eternity with Him. As the Psalmist says, “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 . . .” (Psalm 24:3-4). 

You can be pure of heart in this impure world. This will involve crucifying the ‘flesh’ and its lusts (Gal 5:24). For the sake of your soul, the sacrifice will be worth it. Heart purity is blessedness. Ask Jesus to help you walk with a pure heart – a heart that is free from lies, envy, deception, sexual immorality, addictions, vindictiveness, hate and corruption. 

May the Lord let His face shine on you today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

 For further study: Mark 7:14-23

Renovating Your Mind

Daily Devotional: Day 117

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2, NKJV).

There will be no true revival without a renovation of our minds. In the Bible, Jehovah reveals His mind to us. Likewise, when Jesus came into the world, He showed Himself to be the fullest revelation of the Mind of God. To renovate your mind, it takes an intentional effort to conform your mindset with God’s mindset as revealed in the Scriptures. Renovation of the mind is your responsibility. It won’t happen automatically. For so long, many of us have consumed garbage from television, movies, TV shows, magazines, ungodly music, anti-God public education (or “public indoctrination,” if you want), demonic ideologies, bad habits, toxic relationships, and even false teaching from the pulpit.

We all, in diverse degrees, have become victims at one point or another. We, therefore, need to be on a sustained detox program to purge our minds of toxic content. We need to repair and cleanse our mind on a daily basis through the healing spring of God’s unadulterated Word; because it is in the Word of God that we see clearly what kind of mind God wants us to have. This is a lifetime commitment, but the first step begins today.

Don’t go looking mainly for teachings that will stroke your ego or give you a good feeling. Crave, instead, for messages that will challenge you and even make you critically examine your Christian walk. You need that if you want a renovation of your mind. If you’re not being challenged, you can be sure that you’re not growing; you’re just enjoying a ‘Christian’ version of merry-go-round. You may very well enjoy the thrill of being entertained, but you will not move forward. And if you’re not moving forward, it means your mind is not being renewed, which also means you’re not being transformed.

You meet a lot of Christians, and when you talk to them, it’s astonishing how far their mind is misaligned with God’s mind. Not surprisingly, many Christians have a hard time discerning the will of God for their lives. They will often ask questions like, “So, how do I know if this is God’s will or not?” The solution to this problem is stated in today’s opening Scripture. Paul asserts that renewing our minds is necessary so that we can prove the will of God. The Greek word translated “prove” means to carefully examine, scrutinize or investigate the genuineness of something. God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect. But to discern this will, you need a renovated mind, i.e. a mind that is aligned with God’s inspired Word.

Without a renovated mind, you’ll have a hard time figuring out God’s will for you. But when your mind is in alignment with God’s mind, you can distinctly know His good, acceptable and perfect will. Transformation happens when you tune your mind to God’s mind. From today, make the effort to align your mind with God’s mind as revealed in the Bible.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you today. Amen.

Pray to our Father in heaven about what you’ve heard today.

For further study: 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Right Heart, Right Life

Daily Devotional: Day 47

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them into their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10, KJV).

The new covenant is established through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Under this new arrangement, God writes his law into the core of your being – heart and mind – when you believe in Christ and get saved. Consequently, your transformation will occur from inside out, and not from the outside. You will no longer attempt to obey God based on an external law written on stone tablet. In the Bible, you’ll find several instances of God’s instructions – including do’s and don’ts – which require your obedience. Because God’s law is already written in your heart, when you come across God’s law in the Bible, it’ll spark your interest and resonate with your spirit. This means your spirit will recognize the law and will not oppose it, because the same law is already in you. This is the basis for being happy to obey God. It’s the reason you don’t feel like a burden is being imposed on you. God’s law is already woven into the inner fabric of your born-again spirit. Therefore, keeping the commandments of God doesn’t come across as burdensome. On the contrary, you’re delighted to obey your Father in heaven (Read the verses of Psalm 119 below).

From this point on, you’re not obeying God to get him to save you, but rather, you’re obeying God because he has saved you by grace through faith, and you’re in love with him. It’s all about love from this point. The Apostle John put it perfectly when he wrote, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).  Jesus himself also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). True love for God inevitably bears the fruit of obedience. If you find yourself making light of God’s commandments or disobeying Jesus, it’s a red flag; repent and turn to God. A truly changed heart will always love the Father. And whoever loves the Father will love his law and keep it. It’s not complicated. 

Pray:

Father, thank you for the blessings of the new covenant. Thank you for writing your law into my heart and my mind. Thank you also for pouring your love into my heart (Romans 5:5). Because you have given me a new heart, I can and I will love and obey your Word. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. (Enjoy Don Moen’s rendition of the song “Trust and Obey”)

For further study: Psalm 119:89-106

HIDE GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HEART

Daily Devotional: Day 8

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I  might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11, KJV) 

God’s Word must not just be information in your head. God wants to transform you with his Word. To do this, his Word must abide in your heart. The Hebrew word – tsaphan – translated “hide” means to consciously conceal or treasure something. If God’s Word matters to you, you’ll store it in your heart as a treasure. This is important, because when you store God’s Word in your heart, it penetrates and saturates your spirit. Your heart will be healthy before God. And a changed heart is a changed life. You’ll begin to think, speak and act like your Father in heaven. Some people memorize the Bible from cover to cover. They can tell you everything you need to know about its content. Yet, it’s all in their head. You can tell, because their life is not transformed by the Word they’ve memorized.

Memorizing God’s Word has its benefits. Transformation isn’t one of them. Think about it: Anyone can memorize the Bible. You don’t need to be a Christian to memorize it. It’s a simple intellectual exercise. However, your relationship with your Father is more than that. Your relationship with the Father is a love affair; it’s an exercise in transformation. Transformation occurs when you meditate on God’s Word and  receive  it into your heart as a treasure – allowing the Word to govern your will, emotions and decisions. The Word of God will ignite in you love for the Father and his commands. At the same time, the living Word in your heart will keep you from sinning. You see, God’s Word is power. When you store it in your heart, you’re accumulating divine power and divine wisdom. It’s just a matter of time before you notice in your life the fruit of righteousness, peace, love and joy. Learn from Job; he said, “I have esteemed the words of his [God’s] mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). Now you know what to do . . .

Prayer

Daddy, thank you for your living Word. Enabled by your Spirit’s anointing over me, I’m storing your Word in my heart as my treasure. I’m excited about the transformation your Word is creating in my life. Glory to you now and forever, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

 For further study: 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Matthew 13:18-23

Pastor Steve

Charis Temple (non-denominational church)

Email: charristemple@gmail.com