I have had to fight for purity. And I’m not just talking about sexual purity. God has called Christians to be a people set apart, but in so many areas of our lives, we seek to be as much like the world as we can be without technically sinning.
But the thing is, that very thinking is full of fallacy.
If we really want to be like Christ, if we really want to be His followers, then we should not be thinking about how much we can get away with, but rather, how much like Christ we can be.
I grew up in the 1990s, at the height of the “WWJD?” craze. “What would Jesus do?” seemed to be the answer to every question that I asked. But it hasn’t been until the recent years of my life that I’ve really bothered to ask, “Whoa. What would Jesus do in this situation?”
I tend towards introversion. I really like my alone time. I really like to sit in the quiet in the mornings and read my Bible and pray and worship. I really like to spend my evenings reading or playing my ukulele. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, if Jesus lived in a house with 8 other people, would He hole up by himself all of the time?
I’m guessing not. Because the Jesus that I read about, the Jesus that I know, goes out of His way to help others. Once, when He appeared to His disciples while they were fishing, He not only abundantly blessed their catch, but He made them breakfast (John 21). When a great crowd followed Jesus across the Sea of Galilee, He didn’t react in frustration, but rather, He performed a miracle in order to feed them while He taught them (John 6).
So what would Jesus do? The extreme. He didn’t just teach the crowd of 5,000; He fed them. He didn’t just bless His disciples’ fishing trip; He greeted them on the shore with a flame-broiled breakfast. I shouldn’t hide away all of the time, and I shouldn’t only spend time with my family. I should seek to serve them. Christ would. He wouldn’t just sit at the table and chat; He’d probably whip up a round of omelets while He was at it.
Max Lucado said: “Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see his Majesty and to imitate him: that is the sum of Christianity.”
So what is a pure heart? It is a heart that sees Jesus and strives to imitate His actions instead of acting in selfish motives. Of course having a pure heart isn’t easy. Our very flesh, along with the influences of the world and attacks from the Enemy, seek to destroy our purity.
But purity, especially in the form of a pure heart, is God’s original design for us. That’s why He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). That’s why He says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). It’s God’s intention for us to seek His kingdom first, to love others as much as we love ourselves, to do the very things that Jesus says.
There is a reward for having a pure heart. All of the fighting for it, all of the frustration, all of the striving to be like Christ, it is completely worth it, because in the Psalms it says:
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” (Psalm 24: 3-4).