Matthew 5: 8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
For Jesus, it is never enough to simply comply with the law. Jesus is concerned with a person's heart. If I never murder someone and comply with the law but in my heart I actually want to murder someone, then, according to Jesus, I have complied with the laws of humans but not of God. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
In every action and interaction Jesus asks us to examine the motivations of our hearts. The heart is where our thoughts, desires and character reside. The heart is vitally important to Jesus. What we do, say, and think in our hearts is what Jesus came into this world to change.
As disciples, we should ask, are we serving God or are we serving ourselves? Do we give our service with a glad heart or do we serve reluctantly? Do we build others up or do we promote ourselves? In all things we are to be honest and utterly sincere, and, according to the Apostle Paul, in all things we are to be motivated by love.
I once knew a man that worked tirelessly at the church as a volunteer. No matter what time you were in the church, you would see this man performing some task that no one else wanted to do. But one day he came up to me and pulled a small notebook from his pocket and showed me, very proudly, all of the things he had done for the church and beside each accomplishment he had carefully recorded the number of hours he had spent on that task.
What was his motivation for showing me that notebook? What was his motivation for working in the church? Only he and God knew for sure.
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51: 10)
Tomorrow we study the peacemakers.