Preserving Purity of Heart
We have just celebrated one of my favorite days of the year – Valentine’s Day! This day is about so much more than acknowledging the significant people in our lives. It represents the fact that we are people who can feel and that we can feel deeply. There is no creature in God’s creation as complex as you and me. In Matthew 5:8, Jesus offers us another great attitude to embrace. He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. Our heart represents the location where our physical being and our spiritual being connect. Our heart involves the wisdom of feeling, as opposed to the wisdom of reason, which comes from our head. Our heart supplies us with purpose – it compels us to pursue the good life God has for us and to be life-giving and compassionate to others. It is our symbol of love. Our heart provides our sense of self-worth, intellectual stimulation, and understanding, and is the foundation of courage. It is no wonder that Solomon said, “Above everything else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows out of it” (Prov. 4:23).
Recently, I was reminded just how important and right it is to pursue purity of heart in my own life. In my downtime, I enjoy watching good movies, particularly with close friends. I prefer movies that follow real lives and stories. My favorites over this past Christmas break were 1917 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (I guess Star Wars isn’t a “real” story, except in my imagination!). The way 1917 was filmed intrigued me, and the story was compelling. The film is filled with powerful leadership lessons. I loved it!
There is another film I recently watched with a few friends which I will leave unnamed because I wish I had not seen it. I honestly got caught up in the positive reviews and rationalized seeing it. As the movie progressed, I started telling myself that it didn’t feel right to be watching it. The language was terrible, and honestly, the story just wasn’t that great. Usually, I would get up and leave, but I kept hoping it would get better. When it finished, I was disappointed in myself for staying and not paying more attention to what my heart was saying. For the next several days, what I had taken in impacted my heart. Regular devotions are part of my morning routine, and even my devotions didn’t go well. My reading just felt like words on a page and my spirit felt heavy. My heart felt isolated from God, like it had a hard shell around it. For more than a week, I asked the Lord to remove these feelings and to restore the open communication I enjoy with the Holy Spirit. I asked for forgiveness for not taking the initiative I knew I should have taken. When my heart felt right again, I remembered how important it is to guard myself against things that are not healthy. It not only impacted me emotionally, but physically as well, and left a mark on my spirit. Imagine the even greater impact on us if we continually rationalize things that don’t contribute to our purity of heart.
Lord, help me be continually mindful of the impact my life choices have on my spirit, my emotions, and my physical being. My heart is so important to me because it is where the Holy Spirit speaks to me, and I never want Your voice to be silenced or even quieted to a whisper. Forgive me for my choices that have drawn me away from you, and align me more closely with Your will for my life. Amen.