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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Sept. 1, 2008

  • 2008 Sep 01
  • COMMENTS

 

September 1, 2008

 

The Pure in Heart Will See God

Glynnis Whitwer

 

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

There once was a Pharisee named Simon, who was quite sure that if God had a list of favorites, he would be near the top. As a member of the Jewish elite, he prided himself on keeping the Ten Commandments and wore robes to set himself apart from the common rabble of humanity. And as a Jew, like generations before him, Simon was waiting for God to send the promised Savior.

 

There once was a woman who was just as certain. However, she was certain to be on no one’s list. She knew she was worthy of nothing but contempt from the men and women she encountered. She was a woman who had kept neither God’s nor man’s rules, and had no hope of ever being accepted.

 

Then there was Jesus in the middle of it all. Confusing and bewildering, He was breaking man’s laws to follow God’s, and showering love on those who believed they deserved it least.

 

These three individuals are the key players in a story found in Luke 7, verses 36-50. Simon had invited Jesus to dinner, then showed Him no common courtesy. Jesus’ feet weren’t washed, His cheeks weren’t kissed and His head wasn’t anointed with oil. Everyone in attendance would have noticed these breaches in polite behavior. The air must have been thick with tension. It was as if Simon had slapped Jesus in the face.

 

As the dinner progressed, a woman crossed the courtyard. She knelt beside Jesus, tears coursed down her checks, landing in splashes on Jesus’ feet. She took her unbound hair and gently wiped the muddy spots from Jesus’ feet. She then anointed them with perfume. Jesus’ feet were dirty, cracked and calloused. But they were beautiful to her.

 

Scripture doesn’t tell us how this woman knew about Jesus. But it is clear she knew enough to act with an extravagance that speaks of great love and gratitude.

 

Simon must have been disgusted with this display of emotion. Simon the judge, whose heart was bound by pride, judges the woman and Jesus. There was no love in Simon’s heart.

 

It’s at this time that Jesus reads Simon’s thoughts. Simon said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of a woman she is – that she is a sinner.”

Jesus then goes on to acknowledge Simon’s thoughts, and teach a lesson about forgiveness and love.

 

What strikes me about this story isn’t the parable that Jesus teaches, which is important enough to address on its own. But it is the fact that Simon had been waiting all his life to see the Messiah. Jesus was the fulfillment of the promise to all of Simon’s ancestors. And yet, when the Messiah – God incarnate - walked into Simon’s home, Simon didn’t recognize Him.

 

In Matthew 5, Jesus taught what we now call “The Beatitudes.” In verse 8, Jesus speaks these words, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” The truth of these words was demonstrated in the story of Simon.

 

Simon made sure the outside of his life looked really good. But he neglected the condition of his heart. Simon didn’t see his need for forgiveness, or his need for a savior. The woman in the story had just the opposite condition. The outside of her life was a wreck before she met Jesus, but she knew her desperate need for salvation. Her heart was stripped of pride and was overflowing with love. Now consider, which one saw God?

 

A pure heart …the ability to see God … is it possible for me? Only with God’s help and a willingness to be brutally honest about the sin that’s been hiding in my heart. I know I would rather have the heart of that woman and see God act in my life, than be bound by pride and miss Him.

 

Dear Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself to those who humbly seek You. Help me to uncover any ignored or overlooked sin in my heart. I long to stand before You with a pure heart, and I know I need Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

 

The Confident Woman: Knowing Who You are in Christ by Anabel Gillham

 

P31 Woman Magazine

 

Visit Glynnis’ Blog

 

Application Steps: 

Pray Psalm 139:23-24. Ask God to reveal any sin lurking in your heart. Commit to asking God’s forgiveness for this sin, and His help in dealing with it.

 

Reflections: 

What risk does this woman face in coming to Simon’s house and bowing at Jesus’ feet?

 

What are some sins that are easy to keep hidden in our hearts?

 

What risks and benefits do we face when we are honest about the sin we can keep hidden in our hearts?

 

Power Verses:

Luke 7:47, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (NIV)

Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (NIV)

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org

 

 

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