In the first two essays in this “Back to Basics” series for the Disciplined Order (much of which is based on Dr. Albert Day’s classic book, Discipline and Discovery), I set forth the cause of our Lifestyle, which included a study of the virtue of obedience.  In the next three essays we considered the calling of our lifestyle.  Under that heading we noted several practical virtues that call us to specific, outward lifestyle decisions: simplicity, frugality, and generosity. 
 
            We now are dealing with four virtues that demonstrate the character of our lifestyle.  To this point we have covered humility and truthfulness.  A third virtue that demonstrates Christian character, and thus the DOC lifestyle, is aspect is purity
 
            Dr. Day begins his treatment of purity by reminding us that it is important to be sexually pure.  The biblical Christian lifestyle calls us to reign in our sexual impulses and refrain from extra-martial sex (D&D, pp. 104-106).  And in a culture like ours, where casual sex is promoted and promiscuity is expected, that reminder is well taken.  But as Day goes on to say, biblical purity is much more than sexual purity, or chastity (pp. 106-107).  I agree with that entirely.  Indeed I believe that chastity is only part of a larger, more important matter; namely, purity of heart.  But before we talk about purity of heart, I want us to reflect a bit on the concept of purity itself. 
 
            The basic idea in the concept of purity is this.  A pure thing is free from anything foreign to its essential character.  As Day illustrates, “pure water is water in which there is nothing but H2O.  Pure poetry is poetry that has nothing in it that is alien to poetry . . . [And] a pure person is one in whom is nothing alien to the character which was God’s intention for him” (p. 107). 
 
            Of course that definition immediately raises the question of how anyone can be pure, because none of us would pass the test of that definition.  Day answers the question by declaring that such purity is our goal, and we must pursue it without arguing about whether or not we can attain it.  God has called us to it, and we must never throw up our hands in despair.  Rather we must seek purity with our whole heart.  Day was so convinced of this that he declared he would venture his eternal salvation on the following statement: “if you will make the purity of God your indefatigable quest, the God of purity will give himself to you in such fullness, that your questions will be transcended in the splendor of the experience which has overtaken you” [His emphasis] (D&D, p. 108). 
 
            I believe that godly purity is not simply a goal.  It is an attainable goal.  God never requires us to do or be anything we cannot be or do.  Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt. 5:8).  Isn’t that interesting?  All of us want to see God.  And Jesus says the persons who do are persons who are pure in heart.
 
            Do you remember Chippy the parakeet from the very first essay in this series?  Chippy went through a lot.  There was the trip through the vacuum cleaner hose into the dirt bag, followed by the plunge under the full flow of the bathroom faucet, followed in turn by a series of blasts from the hair dryer.  And afterwards Chippy didn’t sing much anymore.  He just sat and stared.
 
            When life treats you that way, do you sit and stare like Chippy?  Or do you see God? 
 
            In Psalm 24 David brings these thoughts together when he asks what kind of pilgrim is worthy to go up to the Jerusalem temple, and “stand in [God’s] holy place” (v. 3).  By that question David meant, what is the character of one who can go up to the temple and receive God’s blessing (v.5)?
 
            The answer comes in verse four: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of his salvation.”
 
            Yes, the person who sees God is the person with the pure heart.  And the person with the pure heart is the person with a pure character, a person who rejects the false and the deceitful. Thus the Psalmist was saying in his own way, centuries before Jesus, exactly what Jesus said.  “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
 
            Now practically speaking, we are talking about a spiritual “seeing.”  It is metaphorical rather than literal.  It is something that takes place in the heart, not in the cornea.
 
            My son-in-law, Rich Stevenson, calls this spiritual seeing in the heart “heartsight.”  Heartsight is powerful, because it has the power of our emotions behind it.  The heart is the seat of motivation, the arena of passion, the spring of conscience, the center of our inner self.  That is why Jesus said that a fruitful response to the word of God takes place in a good heart (Lk. 8:15).
 
            But what you see in your heart can have negative implications.  That is why Jesus said that sin begins in the heart (Mt. 5:28), and that evil proceeds out of the heart (Mt. 15:19).  And that is why Paul declared to the Romans: “by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath” (Rom. 2:5).
 
            Sometimes when we see with the heart, we see through rose-colored glasses.  My son-in-law suggests that we think for a moment about the people we dated in high school.  I don’t know how helpful that particular exercise is, but we certainly all can identify people and situation where our judgment was suspect, because we looked through rose-colored glasses. 
 
            And when we reflect on those people and situations, we exercise another kind of sight.  It’s called hindsight.  All of us have heard the expression that hindsight is 20/20.  We would make better decisions if our foresight were as good as our hindsight. 
 
            At any rate, Jesus wants us to see God.  He wants us to exercise the power of “heartsight” in a positive, constructive way so that we can enter into the blessing of seeing God.
 
            Of course all of us who believe in God want to see him.  We want to have fellowship with him, now and in the future.  We want to be blessed by his presence in this life, and to dwell in his presence in the life to come.  Or to put it another way, we want to enjoy God’s gifts and blessings while we are alive, and go to heaven when we die.  And purity of heart is the key. 
 
            According to Day, purity encompasses the other virtues already studied: obedience, simplicity, frugality, generosity, humility, and truthfulness.  Persons who are pure in heart will have, by the grace of God, eliminated from their lives all self-will, pride, self-indulgence and falsehood.  And that makes the various virtues of the Christian life possible.  And the key to all of this is purity of motive (D&D, p 109). 
 
            I agree completely with Day.  None of us can be perfect in performance.  But we can be perfect in motive, which is another way of saying pure in heart.  But it is essential for us to realize that we can be perfect in motive only by God’s grace.  We cannot do it in our own strength.  Self-discipline is essential, but self-discipline alone will never make us pure.  Only the indwelling Spirit of God can work the miracle of purity in our hearts (D&D, p. 110).  Thus purity of heart joins humility and truthfulness as important aspects of the character of the D.O.C. lifestyle. 

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