Ose Burnett is the co-founder of First Love Media. She is an evangelist with a heart for ushering young people into the presence of God to receive healing and deliverance. Ose lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband, Niral Russell Burnett, and her three beautiful children. You can find out more information about the ministry of Ose Burnett at Osemene.com
We've always heard that we must be pure before God. Many of us have been raised in legalistic environments and churches that placed an emphasis on our "works", and it's certainly not what the book of James spoke of. The definition of "works" meant wearing long skirts, covering your head with doilies, no earrings, no jewelry, no pants for the ladies (not sure what the rules were for men). For others it was worshiping on a certain day, praying 5 times daily, and reciting specific scriptures at specific times. But in the midst of those "do's and don'ts", we still had MAJOR issues with our flesh. We ran to the altar, seeking for an immediate fix for our flesh. We thought that doing all these things would bring our flesh under, and we would be delivered from heart issues such as lust, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness. But what many of us found out was, although we abstained from physical things, we couldn't keep our flesh in check. Our eyes still wandered to things we were not supposed to see. We still harbored malice, jealousy, rage, gossip-you name the sin- we still had it.
How can we possibly see God with our carnal flesh still alive and active? And can we even stand to "see" Him? I've noticed that in every instance that men of old experienced the very presence of God, they could barely stand or bear under the "pressure" of His presence. So why would the God of the whole earth be interested in us seeing Him? And how do we even begin the process of seeing Him? Let's look at what Matthew 5:8 says:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Another scripture alludes to the same thing:
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."- James 4:8
So we have to look at the phrase, "the pure in heart", because that's where the answer lies So you have to ask yourself, "Where does purity originate?" Does it originate from wearing a "purity ring"? Does it come from making a decision not to wear certain clothes, or using foul language? Where does purity come from? In the scriptures, wherever you see purity or holiness spoken of, the heart is not too far behind. Purity is always referenced with the heart. Our heart is intrinsically tied to being pure. Purity stems from the heart. Purity is not about what you wear, or an outward experience. Purity has to originate from the heart. Jesus illustrates it this way:
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.”
Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”-Mark 7:14-23, New Living Translation
In these verses, Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees and the teachers of the law and their apparent hypocrisy in regards to religious rules and regulations. They created all these rules, but their rules were man-made, and driven by the flesh. They were not concerned about purity at all. They were more concerned with the outward appearance of purity. Fortunately their heart condition betrayed them. He said:
Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God." -Mark 7: 6, 7 NLT
Our heart is where purity is cultivated and originates. God understands how our heart operates more than we do. He knows our intents and thoughts.
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” - Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT
There are things we must do in order to assure that we're walking in purity. First, we must ask the Lord to purify our hearts. David understood this, because in Psalm 51:10 he says,"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
Our hearts are deceitful. It may try to justify our sin and give excuses to us why we are the way we are. But in close examination, we can see that our hearts need to be purified. And this process is a daily process. Like I stated before, purity must be cultivated. Because we were conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity, we were already at a disadvantage when it came to being pure. Secondly, We must hide the Word in our hearts:
How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word."-Psalm 119:9
The Word of God keeps us from impure thoughts, evil intentions and prideful ways. The Word of God brings Life! You cannot live the Christian life without the Word of God. It is impossible. It is not enough to just be convicted when impure thoughts and actions come. The Word of God is the measurement of what we need to do in those tempting situations. Many times the Word of God has risen out of my spirit to convict, encourage, rebuke and reprove me when I needed it most. But you must give God something to work with! Study His Word.
Finally, we must guard what comes in- and out of our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says:
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Do you see the part our heart plays in EVERY aspect of our lives? Our heart leads us to good or evil. David knew this all too well. He was trying to relay to Solomon that everything begins and ends with the heart. It determines our steps. Our heart consists of our mind, will and emotions. Those areas of our heart are where the battles are fought. It is where they are won or lost. We must endeavor to guard our hearts, because it is the backdrop of where our life is developed.
God desires for us to see Him, but His motives are even greater than that. It all started in the garden, when He said, "Let US make man in our own image and likeness..."(Genesis 1:26). God desires for us to be so much like Him. He wants us to see what He sees. His glory cannot compare to anything on this earth. So he has made a way to see Him, because of His Son's shed blood on Calvary. Now we can stand before Him, our hearts sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience. Purity is not about dos and don'ts. It's about seeing Him as He is. Let's endeavor to please Him with a purified heart.
"Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water."-Hebrews 10:22