As important as clean air, pure water and pure food are, there is a sense of purity Cook Islanders tend to overlook. Matthew 5:8 says, "Happy are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Happiness is a heart condition. It's not what goes inside you, it's what comes out. Happiness is from the inside out.
What does "pure in heart" mean? It means unmixed motives. You are a person of integrity. You don't say one thing and act another way. God is concerned with why we do things as much as He's concerned with what we do. He's concerned with our motives.
Matthew 6:1 says: "Be careful not to parade your good deeds before others to attract their notice or you will lose all your reward from your Father in heaven."
Is it possible to do good things with wrong motives? Sure. Is it possible to be outwardly religious and inwardly a mess? Sure. Jesus is saying, happiness comes when you are the same on the inside as on the outside. You're a person of integrity with unmixed motives. Jesus shows how important this is by spending an entire chapter on it in the Gospel of Matthew 6. He gives us three steps to having a pure heart. We will deal with the first two steps.
First, remember that God sees everything. The key phrase in Matthew 6 is "your Father sees what is done in secret." Nothing is a secret from God. Nothing is ever a surprise to Him. Does it bother you in knowing that you have no secrets from God? A lot of people think they're fooling God. Have you ever thought, "Go ahead, nobody will ever find out." Somebody already knows. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." If God already knows everything I might as well have a pure heart than try to fake it. I may fool others but I cannot fool God. The amazing thing is, God knows everything that I'm going to do but He still loves me.
Second, review my motives. I do an honest evaluation of why do I do what I do. Proverbs 24:21 says: "God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch over you; He knows. He rewards you according to what you do." God says that our reward is based on not just what we do, but why we do it. Jesus gives three examples of good things you can do, but you can also do them in the wrong way.
1) Giving. Jesus said, "So when you give to the needy do not announce it with trumpets as the hypocrites do in the synagogue and on the streets to be honored by men. I tell you the truth. they have received their reward in full." Matthew 6.2. He says when you give you shouldn't give in order to be seen by other people. Some people are like that. They love to be seen by other people when they give. "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret, then your Father who sees what is done in secret rewards you." There’s the saying, “Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
2) Praying. Verse 5 says: "When you pray don't be like the hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you they've received their full reward." It’s interesting that there are people who pray to impress others with their words, or praying to remind God what he already knows, or publicly thanking God in prayer for all of their personal achievements. Jesus says, you have your reward. When you pray you don't do it to impress other people.
3) Fasting. Verse 16 says, when you fast you don't go around looking as the hypocrite with a sad face so someone will ask if you are fasting. "Wash your face, put oil on your head, [so it won't be obvious to men that you're fasting.]"
What is the point of all these things? Jesus is saying, the point of pure in heart is you keep it a secret when you do good. If you can't, maybe your motives are mixed. Maybe you want the praise of men more than you want the praise of God. The test of pure in heart is can I keep it a secret? Or do I have to blab every time? If you spent a night in prayer, could you keep that a secret? Three times, Jesus says, don't be a hypocrite.
Opposite of pure in heart is being a hypocrite. Jesus said the Pharisees love the praise of men more than the praise of God. That's what they get. In the Bible, I Thessalonians 2:4 says, "We do not aim to please others, but to please God who knows us through and through." Who do you want to please most? That's the condition of your heart. If you want the praise of other people, that's what you'll get, but that's all you're going to get. So I need to remember that God sees everything I do, that I can't fake it, and what you see is what you get. Phoniness is unhappiness. Happiness is people who just say, "Here it is, folks, no more, no less!" This doesn't mean you're perfect; but it does mean you're transparent. Happiness is a heart condition. It comes from the inside out.
Enjoy your weekend and don’t worry. Be happy in Christ!
Ps Tevai Matapo,