In Matthew 5:8, Jesus said; “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Since all of us should want to see and dwell with God for all eternity some day, we should want to be “pure in heart” like the passage says. But what does it mean to actually be pure in one’s heart?
First of all, what does it mean to be “pure in heart”? The Greek word for “pure” is katharos, which means “clean” and “free from contamination.” For us to be considered spiritually “pure” we must not have any sin unrepented of in our lives, and devote ourselves to living righteously each and every day of our lives. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (II Timothy 2:22). Of course, we must begin the process of purifying ourselves by being baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21). After baptism we must continue to keep a clean and pure heart and soul, free from sin. We are not incapable of committing sin after baptism, but we can be cleansed of those sins through repentance.
How can we practice keeping a pure heart each day? First of all, we should study God’s Word every day so that we will know what He wants of us in order to live a faithful Christian life. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15). Also, we should pray every day, many times in a day for help from God while living the faithful Christian life. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17).
We should also monitor outside influences that can tempt us to have impure thoughts and actions. We should prohibit listening to music and watching movies or television shows that have foul language or sexually explicit content in them. We should also avoid socializing with people who use foul language or have other behaviors that are sinful, unless we are going to be around them to teach them. We have to do this in order to not be influenced to sin, and to not be an influence to sin for others. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” (Titus 2:7-8).
We are to be more like Christ and not like the world. We cannot have one foot in the world and the other foot in Christ at the same time. We either are following the influence of the world, or the influence of Christ, we cannot do both. “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13). In our effort to be pure in heart, we should always focus on what God wants rather than what the world thinks is acceptable.
When we strive to be pure in heart, we also have to guard our own influence, so that we do not influence others to commit sin. For example, if we are listening to music or watching movies and T.V. or Netflix shows that have foul language and/or sexually explicit content then we can be an influence to others to do that same thing (Philippians 4:8). Likewise, if we are in certain places where sinful activities are taking place, we hurt our influence by merely being there. To be pure in heart, we cannot cast a stumbling block before ourselves or others. “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” (I Corinthians 8:9).
We should always strive to be more like Christ and less like the world each day that we live our Christian lives. Everyone is tempted in different ways, and we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Being pure in heart means having to deny yourself of things that the world is doing that may look like fun, but in the end, it will cause you to become spiritually lost. In Luke 9:23, Christ says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Enjoying sin for a short time is not worth losing your soul for all eternity. Heaven is far too great a reward to ever risk losing, no matter how important the temporary things of this world may seem in the moment. The temporary world will end, but eternity is forever. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).