Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
C. S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” The truth of the matter is that Someone is always watching. God in heaven sees our thoughts, our actions, our mistakes, and our guilt when we fail. One of the great assurances found in Scripture is that in spite of our failures and sin, God loves us and encourages us to be better. How often have we heard a young child say, “Daddy, I want to be like you!” What a blessing for an earthly father to hear those words from his child. That is what God wants to hear from us—not that we are perfect—but that our desire and goal is to be like Him.
Do you have someone in your life who makes you want to be a better person in one or more ways? We should all be so blessed. People who knew Jesus felt that way about Him. The phrase “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11) is emblematic of what happened to many people who encountered Jesus in their life. It was hard to be around the Son of God without being motivated to be better, especially to be a purer person.
If you are a Christian, you are around Jesus every moment through the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life. Let His presence, and His Word, be the primary shaping influence in your life.
If you would have the life holy before men, let the heart be pure before God. Thomas Manton
Blessed are the Pure in Heart – Sermon by John Piper on Matthew 5:8
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 1 Kings 17:15
Three hundred children were dressed and seated for breakfast, and a prayer of thanks was offered for the food. But there was no food! Situations like this were not unusual for orphanage director and missionary George Mueller (1805–1898). Here was yet another opportunity to see how God would provide. Within minutes of Mueller’s prayer, a baker who couldn’t sleep the night before showed up at the door. Sensing that the orphanage could use the bread, he had made three batches. Not long afterward, the town milkman appeared. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. Not wanting the milk to spoil, he offered it to Mueller.
It’s normal to experience bouts of worry, anxiety, and self-pity when we lack resources essential to our well-being—food, shelter, health, finances, friendships. First Kings 17:8–16 reminds us that God’s help can come through unexpected sources like a needy widow. “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug” (v. 12). Earlier it was ravens that provided for Elijah (vv. 4–6). Concerns for our needs to be met can send us searching in many directions. A clear vision of God as the Provider who has promised to supply our needs can be liberating. Before we seek solutions, may we be careful to seek Him first. Doing so can save us time, energy, and frustration.
Reflect & Pray
What’s been your experience when you’ve focused on securing provision before seeking the Provider in prayer? What current needs will you bring before God?
Father, sharpen my vision of You as the Provider for all my needs. Forgive me for times I have futilely sought to find my way without seeking You first.
Do you ever look at your circumstances and see no possible way the Lord could bring something good from them? What benefit could come from illness, unemployment, a broken family, or other difficulties? While we can’t always understand what God is doing, there is one thing we can do—trust Him to use our situation for His own glorious purposes.
Although Paul’s imprisonment may have seemed like the end of his ministry opportunities, God actually used it to further the gospel. Not only was the apostle able to reach Roman guards, but his incarceration also inspired others to preach boldly, whether from good motives or bad. And in facing the threat of a death sentence, Paul recognized that, whether in his execution or in the continuation of life, it was yet another chance to glorify the Lord.
Paul’s responses prove it is possible in every circumstance to live in a manner that exalts Jesus Christ. And the same Holy Spirit who helped the apostle will help any willing believer today. When we view life from God’s perspective, every hardship becomes an opportunity to trust His good purpose, fully depend on Him, and respond in a manner that glorifies and exalts Christ.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
It is fascinating to learn that the Lord has a special reward for all those who “love his appearing.” The word “appearing” (Greek epiphaneia) can refer to either the first or second advent of Christ, depending on the context. Paul urges us to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). For “the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ…hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10).
Our text for the day obviously refers to His Second Coming “at that day,” exhorting us not only to look for but to love His appearing! At that great day, “the Lord, the righteous judge” will award to those who have loved His appearing a special crown of righteousness. We have already received the imputed “gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) by His grace and have been “made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21), so this crown of righteousness somehow must be (as a wreath encircling the head of a victor in a race) an enveloping glow of divine appreciation for a godly life lived in daily anticipation of the Lord’s return.
The apostle John beautifully expressed the way in which such a life, loving Christ’s coming, produces a growing righteousness now and perfected righteousness then. “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming….We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 2:28; 3:2-3). HMM