Last week we talked about going through the spiritual wilderness experience, were you feel God is silent in your life, and you don’t sense His presence. However, we concluded that God is never silent, and He is always present in our lives.
As Christians, we are to know that God is at work in our lives every day, guiding, shaping, growing and strengthening us all the time. However, for many, hearing that God is always at work in our lives is but a mere Christian cliché’ spoken to sound spiritual, because many of us miss seeing God in our daily lives. Sure, we see the beauty of God’s creation every day. The sunrise, the birds flying overhead, the flowers are beautiful, the natural wonders of the world, the cycle of life, etc. But, I don’t actually see God at work in my life?
In the world, we heavily rely on what we can see which dictates our response and reaction in and to our life. Each day we face the challenges of life, financially, vocationally, relational, physical and even spiritual, and the circumstances of life are what capture our attention and we focus on them. And, in this busyness of our day-to-day life, many of us miss seeing God in our daily lives.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
The phrase will see is the Greek word:
ὁράω horaó (ho’-r owl’); which means to perceive, discern, be aware. Horáō ((ho’-r owl’) – is more metaphorical meaning: “to see with the mind” (i.e. spiritually see), i.e. perceive (with inward spiritual perception).
So, what Jesus is saying is not in reference to some future event or appointed date when you leave this earth and now you’re in the presence of God seeing Him face to face. No. He is speaking about seeing God in your daily life here and now. So, what does it mean pure of heart.
The Greek word for “pure” in Matthew 5:8 is katharos (ka-tha-ross). It means to be “clean, make blameless.” The word specifically refers to that which is purified by fire or by pruning. John the Baptist told people that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). Malachi speaks of the Messiah as being like a “refiner’s fire” (Malachi 3:2). Jesus refers to believers as being the branches and to Himself as being the vine (John 15:1-17). For a vine to produce fruit, it must be pruned. Those who are “pure,” are those who have been declared innocent because of the work of Jesus and who are being sanctified by His refining fire and His pruning. Pure, katharos (ka-tha-ross), does not mean, without sin, but that of being cleansed, being pruned, held blameless. And, the Greek word for “heart” in Matthew 5:8 is kardeeah (cardia), and this refers to the spiritual center of life. It is where thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character reside.
So, the pure of heart, Jesus is referring to is those who through the redemptive work of God is held blameless, has and is being cleansed, pruned and refined through God’s grace, and they now have a singleness of heart (thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding and character) towards God.
I hope you understood that! The pure of heart is a person whose life, through the redemptive work of Christ, is now focused on spiritual matters, the things of God.
When David the Prophet/King looked at his life, he saw God’s fingerprints all over it. David was confident that the Lord was always right there with him (Ps. 16:8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand…). David, a man like us, was a sinner, was given God’s grace, forgiven and cleansed of his sins, pruned and refined by the Lord. But, David had an awareness of God’s presence and involvement in his daily life. Even as a kid, David saw the fingerprints of God in his life.
1 Samuel 17:37
David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
The evidence of God’s great power is all over your life, if only you will see it. But, many of us don’t see God it in our daily lives because we lack the spiritual perception because of our eyes are focused on the busyness of our day-to-day lives.
However, we can train ourselves to be more spiritually perceptive of God’s hand at work in our lives. Viewing the world with wide-open spiritual eyes changes one’s perspective. But, seeing with spiritual eyes isn’t a now-and-then kind of thing—it’s a lifestyle. Like David, we must train our spiritual eyes to notice evidence of the heavenly Father’s presence in our daily life.
Over 25 years ago, I began to develop a habit that has helped me see God in my daily life. Before I go to sleep, I try to recall the events of my day, and I look for evidence of God at work in my day. How did He guide me? How did He protect me in situations or discipline me in others? How did He help me with this relationship or that relationship? And, several other things I go over, reflecting on and noticing God’s fingerprints in my life that day.
I found that as I reflected on the things that occurred during the day and saw God’s fingerprints, my faith grew, so did my prayer life, as did my ability to recognize God’s work in my life. Many things, that I wouldn’t have thought twice about, suddenly became clear signs of His presence in my life.
When you start to see the Lord at work in your life, you tend to want to see more and more because it’s like a continuous stream that builds your faith and deepens your relationship with Him. Living with an awareness of God working in your life brings a spiritual clarity that sharpens your awareness of God’s presence and involvement in your daily life.
And, as with David, I began to realize that we can train ourselves to be more attuned to God’s presence in our daily lives by nurturing an awareness of the Lord at work in our daily lives.
There is no mystical or magical way to be ushered into God’s presence. Walking in God’s presence only requires trusting and nurturing our relationship with Him.
It’s more like the things you do when you want to deepen your intimacy or friendship with a spouse or best friend—things like going on a dinner date, writing a personal letter, or taking a walk together. It is in trusting and realizing God working in you that brings an awareness of His presence.
When you draw near to God, he promises to draw near to you (James 4:8). We do this by:
- Focusing on His Word
If we want to see something, you have to know what you’re looking for. All of God’s promises, all of the world’s truths are held in the Holy Bible. It’s all there for us to, we just have to choose to keep filling our minds with it. The more that we hear His promises and truth, the more that we can begin seeing them coming to fruition in and to our lives.
Scripture instructs us to renew our minds and set our minds on things above. It is through the lens of Scripture we see God, ourselves, and the world clearly and correctly. By keeping His Word before us in our daily lives, it is able to recalibrate our values and agenda to God’s, and we are able to see the things of God through His revealed truth.
When we hold this promise in our heart, we can start seeing Him providing for us on a daily basis. Even something as small as a parking space opening up right in front of where you’re going, or a kind word from a stranger. We can begin to realize that many of these things are from our Heavenly Father.
- Focusing on Love and Gratitude
Our brains are designed to grow and adapt quite quickly, and similar to our bodies, they grow based on what they’re fed.
God created us with the ability to choose our thoughts, to choose what we feed our minds, our souls. When we focus on love and gratitude, we begin to transform how our brain functions and we begin to see God’s fingerprints on the good things that came from Him in our daily lives.
This is why, Brother Paul tells us in Phil. 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Filling our minds with Godly things, transforms our thought patterns, and helps us become more attuned to the presence of God in our lives. By filling our minds with good, loving things, we can literally train ourselves to see more of the Lord every day.
Prayer opens a space for God to work in our lives.
When we bring our requests to God, when we pray continually, God has the space to transform us. It also makes it easier for us to see His work because we see our prayers answered.
If we think about how what we feed our mind actually transforms our physical brain and body, then it’s easy to see that prayer is one of the best things that we can do to grow spiritually and to transform our lives to perceive the presence of God in our lives.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us in your image, for pouring out your blessings upon us, and for your presence. We ask that you continue to walk with us in all things, that you continue to fill us with your Holy Spirit, and that you help us to see more of you every day. We pray that you would help us to always be hungry for a deeper relationship with you, and that you would help us to strive to always fill our minds with Godly things.
We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.