When I was teaching a science unit on weather to fifth graders we discussed the mystery of wind. I explained that even though you can’t see the wind you know it’s real. You can observe its effects in creation: a flag blowing, your face burning with an icy-cold or burning-hot gust, a sound or odor that travels near you. It isn’t tangible, you can’t touch it but you know it’s there. Jesus used wind in his illustration of our spiritual rebirth.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 ESV)
Our sixth beatitude is pureness of heart. The heart is that hidden part of you (1 Peter 3:4) that only God can know. It’s the place where our desires come from as well as our behavior to fulfill those desires. It all begins in the heart. It alerts us to whether we are living to please ourselves or to please God. That sets the bar pretty high for a believer in Jesus Christ. Our sinful nature drives us to patterns of behavior that make us feel good. God, the Holy Spirit drives us to holy thinking and therefore holy living. Phil. 4:8 gives us a list of things to think on, things that are pure made that list. What we think about we usually act on. True? True.
Sometimes we think that since we go to church almost every Sunday, occasionally read our Bible, throw a check into the offering plate, and maybe even volunteer our time and energy to a worthy cause, we have this pure heart. But Jesus said that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees we will never enter into kingdom living. The scribes and Pharisees were all about having the right behavior without the right heart. They looked good on the outside but God knew. Our standard is higher, it’s love for God and love for others. Paul tells us:
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. (1 Timothy 1:5 NLT)
What does this have to do with the wind? Watch Jesus’ connection. When you have a pure heart, the right motives and attitudes that drive your behavior, you will see God. You will observe His work in your life, like the wind, and watch your circumstances change. Do you want to see God? Ps. 24:3-6 tells you how. Constantly check your heart, analyze why you do things. God wants you to see that flag blowing, to feel His presence, to hear His voice, and to give you the peace that only He can give. You are blessed when you desire to please God more than yourself: that’s a pure heart.