At the heart of Calvary is the transformation of the human heart.
It’s true that human behavior is directed by an internal force. This force is not disconnected from us, it is us. What comes out of us always proceeds from within us. This instrument within us that is mass producing our words, actions, and behaviors is often referred to as our heart.
We do (behaviors) what we do because we want what we want (desires) and we want what we want because we love (affections) what we love and we love what we love because inherent in all of us is the business of worship.
The reality of these statements is played out in the 73rd Psalm in the heart and life of Asaph. He writes,
“Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” Psalm 73:1
God is good to the pure in heart. Obviously when the Bible uses the term ‘heart’ it is not talking about the physical heart in the human body, but it is speaking of our soul, which makes up our true self. Our physical bodies are tents in which our souls live. God is good to those who are pure in their soul.
The immediate question then becomes: What constitutes a pure heart and how do I get one? Before we answer that question, let’s ask and answer an even more obvious question:
Why would I want a pure heart?
Asaph answers the question for us: God is GOOD to the pure in heart and who doesn’t want the goodness of God in their life? Well, just maybe someone is reading this who might actually think, “I’m not sure the goodness of God is all that great. I’m not sure I want the goodness of God. I’m kind of looking at the world and thinking I might want the goodness of the world instead.” If that’s you, listen to Titus 3:4-7
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
God owns this world and all that is within it. Not only that, God owns riches you and I have never seen. In fact, His riches are not even able to be compared with anything this world offers. The goodness of God far exceeds your imagination and the goodness of God is only for the pure in heart.
Jesus said, “Blessed (happy) are those who are pure in heart.” (Matthew 5:8) Why? Why are the pure in heart happy? “For they shall see God.” The pure in heart not only get the front row seats, but they get the backstage pass where they are allowed to see God and meet with Him and talk with Him and walk with Him. This is why we ought to want a pure heart!
But what is a pure heart and how do I get one?
Asaph, our writer, answers that question in verse 25:
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”
The soul, the heart, is the seat of our desires (longings, passions, affections). The pure heart sees clearly that there is no greater reward than God Himself. Not only does the pure heart see that truth, but the pure heart seeks God alone. There is nothing on earth that the pure heart desires above God.
What do I want? What is it that your heart longs for today more than anything else?
Why do I want what I want?
What does what I’m wanting right now in this season of my life reveal about the affections of my heart?
Are there idols in my heart that need to be exposed and torn down so that my affections are for God alone?
The pure in heart love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength! The pure in heart are happy and joyful in any and all of life’s circumstances because they are in love with the incomparable God of the Universe and they want nothing besides Him.
Have you had that woeful feeling come over yet? That feeling that says, “Oh my word, how will I ever make it to heaven?” This is where we cry out, “Oh God, help me, because my heart is not functionally there yet!” You’re not alone. As we continue next we’ll see how the idols of Asaph’s own heart are exposed and how he gains the victory over weak desires and affections.