through His Word
An excerpt from Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character
by Katy Kauffman
I walked onto the beach and stood in awe. It wasn’t the white-capped waves that captured my attention or the small flock of pelicans that flew nearby. It was the soap bubbles.
The ocean was edged with soap bubbles, or what looked like them, as if God were cleansing the waters. White foam stood at attention along the beach, a reminder of what “clean” looks like. I played tag with the waves for a little bit, and then stepped into a foamy mound. My toes didn’t feel it as much as my heart did. Clean. A sense of being made new, washed, set right. “Clean” is a refreshing word, and it is a reality usually achieved through hard work and care. It takes hard work to keep a house clean. How much more our hearts.
Is “Pure in Heart” Even Possible?
Just as it seems impossible to keep an entire ocean clean, it can seem impossible to keep our hearts pure all the time. Yet Jesus adds “pure in heart” as a condition for happiness and blessing.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 NKJV*
Blessed are those who are “free from wrong thinking, corrupt desires, and impure motives.”1 Happy are those who are free from the stain and misery of sin. The blessing that they receive is seeing God Himself—understanding more of who He is because they learn how to think as He does, in purity and holiness. Drawing close to Him without any sin or guilt reminding them that they can’t. Knowing Him like never before and walking life’s road with Him.
“Pure in heart” is free from the gunk that makes us hesitant to draw close to God and serve Him, free from those ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that hurt our relationships. “Pure in heart” makes us clean lanterns through which God can shine His light of love and truth.
While God’s word makes it clear that purity of heart is a reality to strive for, it also clearly states that sin is an ever-present reality, even in the believer’s life. First John 1:8 testifies to the impure nature of the human heart—If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. Even the apostle Paul, a champion of truth and righteousness, agonized at the war he felt in his heart between the law of God and the sinful ways of human nature. In Romans 7:24, he said, O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
As long as we are attached to these human bodies, we will feel the pull of sin. When we depend on ourselves more than God and want our way instead of His, we will give in to it. So how can we stay pure?
Just as the waves continually lap onto shore and retreat into the ocean, bringing with it sand and shells, the word of God rushes into our hearts when we study it and pulls away the gunk and grime of everyday living. The Lord who spoke the sacred words of the Sermon on the Mount is the same Lord who today cleanses His church with the truth. “With the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26), Christ keeps His bride pure. When we obey the truth that we read, study, and hear, our souls are purified (1 Peter 1:22). Staying clean is no longer an improbability in a world filled with sin, guilt, and shame. It can be a reality as we stay close to the Cleanser of our souls and Renovator of our hearts. It can be a daily reality of continual cleansing and renewal.
How Does “Pure in Heart” Act in Everyday Life?
More of God and less of me. More of love and less of selfishness. As God renovates our hearts to be more like His, He not only cleanses away the bad, but He replaces it with the good. He instills in us the right way of thinking, feeling, and acting—His way, in His likeness—so that what we give out is not self-centered but God-centered.
“Pure in heart” is a heart centered on God, fueled by His own character, mindful of His purposes in the world. Pure hearts are needed in our day to direct people’s attention to the quality of God’s love, to the strength of His character and goodness. When we say yes to a pure heart and choose love over selfishness, we will become better ambassadors for God and draw people to Him.
Have You Washed Your Soul Today?
Whatever deadlines and schedules call for our attention, whatever temptations pull at our hearts, let’s take time each day to be in God’s word and talk with Him. Let’s allow His truth to wash over our souls and cleanse them from the dirt we’ve accumulated by walking in the world. Let’s deliberately set our minds on things above, and allow the truth of God’s word to transform us. Just like the waves that continually wash over the beach, God’s “waves” of truth and lovingkindness cleanse us day by day. Then purity won’t be an ideal that’s out of reach, but a reality that we possess and treasure.
Dear Lord, Cleanse our hearts from the gunk that clogs our relationships with You and others. Use Your truth to transform who we are so that more and more we choose Your way over sin. Build purity within us, and continually renew and strengthen it. May it become easier to refuse the sin that pollutes our hearts and to embrace Your way of thinking, feeling, and acting. In Your name, Amen.
- What kinds of distractions can keep us from being in God’s word on a daily basis?
- What motivations to be in His word are more powerful than those distractions?
- In what environment does your heart feel the cleanest—at home, at church, on vacation, or somewhere else?
- Besides taking in God’s word, in what other ways can you cooperate with God to purify your heart?
- If you were to pick the top three people in the Bible who had the purest hearts (besides the Father, Son, and Spirit), who would they be?
- What can we admire about them?
- How can we practice those character qualities in our daily lives?
*All Scripture verses are taken from the NKJV.
1. Beebe Kauffman, A Whole Lot of Wonderful--Application of the New Testament for Today (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), 43.
** Author’s Note: This is an adapted excerpt from Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character (Buford, Georgia: Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), pages 303-306. All rights reserved.
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Godly character, purity, sin, choices, Soap Bubbles for the Soul, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies
Thank you for letting me share these “victory” excerpts with you. This short Bible study came from Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, which was a 2019 Selah Awards Finalist for Bible studies. It is available as a paperback through our website, and you can also check it out on Amazon.