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Finding Happiness (Part 6)

Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” (NKJV)

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I know that it isn’t fair mentioning this so close to lunch time, so I ask your forgiveness in advance.  Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration has a publication that gives acceptable levels of ingestion of food contaminates? The first paragraph of their  “Food Defect Action Levels” booklet says, “Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110 allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard. These "Food Defect Action Levels" listed in this booklet are set on this premise--that they pose no inherent hazard to health.”  (http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dalbook.html)

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Not too bad, right?  I’m not done yet.  Did you know that, according to this publication, it is healthy for your Fig Newton to have up to thirteen insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste?  Did you also know that up to four rodent hairs in a jar of peanut butter, or 5 milligrams of rat excrement per pound of sesame seeds won’t hurt you? (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

Our text says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” (NKJV)  What do you think Jesus meant by pure?  What level of defilement can a person have in their heart and still be pure?  Is it four rodent hairs or 5 milligrams of excrement or 13 insect heads? 

About eight years ago, long before the increased security measures resulting from 9-11, I was selected at random for a high tech search of my laptop computer as I passed through the security check point at the Albuquerque Sunport. The guard took a paper towel and wiped the outside of my Pentium -75 laptop and put the towel over a small pipe emitting air. A moment later, she showed a printout to her supervisor. I strained to hear their conversation. "Run it again," he said. 

By now, a line was forming behind me. She repeated the routine. Wiping my laptop, putting the paper over the small pipe and talking to her supervisor. After the third time, the supervisor came over and asked to see my ticket. 

People were staring at me. I began to feel self-conscious and kinda guilty. Guilty of what? I didn't know, but I felt the same way I did as a freshman in High School setting outside the principal's office because I smarted off at a teacher.

"Is there a problem?" I asked. "Your computer has set off three alarms, and we can't let you on the plane without the approval of the airlines." "What do you mean alarms--what kind of alarms?" Looking at the tape, the supervisor said, "The alarm is for plastic explosives." "Wait just a minute, the official from the airlines will be here soon."

There must be some kind of mistake, I thought. I looked at my watch, I'd been in line now for 30 minutes, I could miss my flight. I considered my options. I could leave my laptop behind, but I needed it for the work I was supposed to do on the trip.

When the official arrived, I answered a dozen questions. Then she asked, "Has anyone else touched your computer?" "Well I bought it used." "How long ago?" "Oh, last year." "Who did you buy it from?" "I don't remember his name, all I remember is he was an engineer at Sandia Laboratories." "Well that explains it," she said. "There is still a residue on the computer from when he handled it."

I couldn't believe my ears. They could detect what someone had on their hands who handled my computer over a year ago. Amazing. She let me proceed. 

As I boarded the plane, I was relieved that everything worked out alright, but I couldn't help but think about the lingering effects of what we come in contact with. By now I wasn't thinking about plastic explosives anymore, I was thinking about the condition of my soul. What are the lingering effects of a lustful look, or a flash of anger?  How long does hatred burn in our souls and taint our heart? 

How pure is our heart supposed to be?  The Psalmist wrote, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? [4] He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, And has not sworn deceitfully.”  (Psalm 24:3-4 NASB)

So how pure do we need to be?

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A typical cubic foot of air contains a million specks that are half a micron or larger (a micron is 1/25,000 of an inch), but the "clean rooms" at INTEL are different. Their standards will not allow more than one speck that is a half a micron or larger in the rooms where they manufacture the wafers that will become computer microprocessors. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

INTEL goes to extreme measures to maintain cleanliness because they know that for their chips to work properly, they must be clean. The Christian's heart is no different; it must be clean to properly guide the believer. That's why King David cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalms 51:10 NKJV) 

Now here’s the problem.  Does anyone here live life with totally pure motives?  Or are we all sinners?  Yet, Jesus says that if we want to be happy, we have to have pure hearts, not FDA 4-rodent hair pure, or even Intel ½ a micron speck of dust pure or even Ivory Soap 99 and 44/100% pure, but Jesus Christ 100% pure. A little later in the chapter, Jesus said, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 (NLT)

How is that possible? 

It begins by admitting, that when it comes to spiritual things, I am totally bankrupt before a Holy God.  Reflection upon my spiritual depravity causes me to mourn. Because my heart is broken by my sin, I submit myself to God’s control and make the pursuit of righteousness my primary objective in life.  My pursuit of righteousness leads me to be gracious and merciful to others. Then and only then is it possible to be pure in heart. 

It would be impossible to have a pure heart without being poor in spirit, mourning over sinfulness, being under God’s control, pursuing righteousness and showing mercy to others.  But when those characteristics are woven into your lifestyle, then you are ready to pray with King David, “Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. [2] Wash away my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me. [4] Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge. [5] Indeed, I was guilty [when I] was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. [6] Surely You desire integrity in the inner self, and You teach me wisdom deep within. [7] Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:1-7 HCSB)

People don’t have pure hearts because they’ve never sinned.  They have them because God has cleansed them—then and only then are they whiter than snow.

1 John 1:7-9 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. [8] If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.[9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  (NIV)

Perhaps you long for that pure heart.  You’re ready to stop living a duplicitous lifestyle and are ready to submit yourself to God’s cleansing.  Then walk in the light with Him, and ask Him to clean you of your sins and all unrighteousness.  Then enjoy the fruit of that confession.
 

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