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.
In the classic children’s book, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint- Exupéry, there is the wonderful line: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Jesus says that those whose hearts are pure will see God who is invisible to the eye. Those who are single-hearted in devotion to God will know God intimately and personally in their daily lives: “…they will see God.”
But the condition for such a warm and intimate relationship with God is a pure heart, a heart that wants Him more than it wants anyone or anything. But I often feel my heart pulled in different directions; I want God, but I want other things as well. My heart is often mixed, polluted with other desires. Like St. Augustine, I have sometimes prayed, “Lord, make me pure, but not yet” (Confessions).
The New Testament letter of James calls for Christians to “Purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). In other words, make up your minds! Be of one, undivided heart towards God! Decide once and for all whom you will serve, and to whom you will give your life’s devotion. Eugene Peterson’s popular paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, renders James words: “Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field”.
John Bunyan, in his allegory of the Christian life, Pilgrim’s Progress, portrays the tragically comic character “Mr. Facing Both Ways”. He is like a weathervane turning whichever way the wind blows. Thus ‘Mr. Facing Both Ways’ lacks any intimate experience of God and cannot see God with his spiritual eyes.
Oh the blessedness, the joy of making up our minds, and deciding to follow Jesus!
PONDER AND PRAY
“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”—Joshua 24:14-15
- Are there times that you are ‘Mr. Facing Both Ways’? If so, how?
- Would you, like Joshua, “choose this day” and resolve: “as for me I will serve the Lord”?
- What do you want To Say To God?