Love one another deeply…from the heart. ~ 1John
A pure heart.
I hear people speak about Christians and their non-Christ-like behavior. And I hear Christians defend themselves that we are sinners saved by grace. It seems non-Christians understand intuitively that we (Christians) should have pure hearts. Interestingly, those Christians were once non-Christians. Yet, once we become followers of Jesus, a pure heart no longer seems reasonable or plausible. So which is it?
The early saints believed it was more than plausible to follow Christ with a pure heart. Peter, Paul, and John commended their readers to love deeply, give generously, and forgive completely. A pure heart filled with the love of Christ as the norm, not the exception.
Our world today is just as complex as it was 2000 years ago. In many ways, it is easier. But people are not any more or less selfish. The early Church was filled with Believers who were born with a sinful nature. The Church today is filled with Believers who are born with a sinful nature.
The difference between us and them is our willingness to press in toward sanctification. Our desire to be radically transformed by God is minimal. Our get-rich-quick, instant society has left us spoiled and unable to persevere. We want to know how often to attend worship to stay in good standing with God. We pray only when we are in a crisis. And we have delegated Bible study to paid staff.
St. Paul tells us if we do not have the Spirit of Christ in us, then we are not Christians. If we do have the Spirit of Christ in us, then we are Christians. And if we have the Spirit of Christ, then we are obligated. We are obligated to press in toward a pure heart.
There are five weeks left until summer ends. Would you consider this end of summer challenge? Each morning record something you were grateful for from the previous day. Then record some way you saw God at work. Where did you see or hear God? Did He meet a need, a want? Did He answer a prayer? Did He encourage you or rebuke you? Did He put someone in your path to bless? Then ask God to help you see Him at work during the day.
You have five weeks or 35 days to be intentional. Press in to God and you will be blessed. It doesn’t have to be long and in-depth. But it does need to be intentional.
Keep fighting the good fight of faith!
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. ~ Romans 8:9-14