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March 18—Lent Devotional 2013

As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Matthew 5:8


It was Canon Holmes of India who years ago observed the average person’s detached, abstract belief in God:

To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate; but He remains personally unknown to the individual. ‘He must be,’ they say, ‘therefore we believe He is.’ Others do not go even so far as this; they know of Him only by hearsay” (quoted by A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God).

But in this beatitude Jesus promises an experience of God that is immediate and real: “…they will see God”. The pure in heart will know God not by inference or hearsay, but will know Him by His very presence with them. In the Bible, ‘seeing God’ is a figure of speech for an intimate, experiential relationship with God. It is to see God with spiritual eyes. The pure in heart will be like Moses, who even in Egypt “persevered as though he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

Seeing God in this immediate and direct way begins in the heart, in a heart that is pure. The Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, wrote a book he titled Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing. He argued that most people have a heart pulled in many directions; they are divided and at war within themselves. Kierkegaard said that to be pure in heart is to will one thing: to be single-hearted in wanting God more than we want anything.

When we are pure in heart and devoted to God we will see Him in our daily lives. We will be able to sing the old hymn and really mean it: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own” (“In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles).


“Father in Heaven, what are we without you?
…You that give both the beginning and the completion, may you early,
at the dawn of the day, give to the young the resolution to will one thing;
as the day wanes, may you give to the old a renewed remembrance
of that first resolution that the first may be like the last, and the last like
the first in possession of a life that has willed only one thing.”—
Soren Kierkegaard

  • Canon Holmes observed “To most people God is an inference, not a reality.” Would you consider God to be a “reality” in your life, or an “inference” based on some evidence?
  • Do you feel your heart pulled in many directions? Are there idols or other things to which you might be more devoted than to God?
  • Pray: “Lord, I ask for a pure (clean, uncluttered) heart. I long to see your face, that there would be nothing between you and me.” (Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality)
  • What do you want To Say To God?

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