Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name. – Psalm 86:11
This morning dawned bright, clear, and cool here in North Carolina. Overall, however, we’ve had a wet winter thus far. More rainfall has meant more clouds and many gray days. The word “dreary” has been thrown around a lot, and I’ve heard a number of complaints.
I confess to being disappointed when it’s too wet to walk Scoutie (believe me, no-one needs a wet, hairy, labraddodle in the house), but I’m drawn to the subtle artistry that defines this time of the year. Maybe it’s because I’m still a North Carolina newbie? or that I’m excited about the novel idea of four seasons? or because I’m still learning to look at the world with new eyes? Whatever the reason, I can’t find anything other than beauty in Wake Forest, even in the middle of a cold January fog.
PURE IN HEART: So – while it was still cloudy and wet – I took a few photographs from the deck and off the front walk. The way I look through my camera at this new world we’re enjoying so much is a lot like the way I look through the lens of my heart.
Rebekah put her finger on it in church yesterday when she preached on the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5
“Purity of heart isn’t about being perfect,” she said, “or about being blameless; it’s more about a clarity of focus. The pure in heart see God because they are less distracted.”
Jesus alluded to this same idea in the Parable of the Sower, when he said, The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. – Matthew 13
“All too quickly the message is crowded out.” It’s hard to see clearly when the message is crowded out. Being able to see God (or to see beauty) comes from having – or cultivating – an “undivided heart.” It’s hard to appreciate the beauty when all we can see is the cold rain, the dead leaves, the inconvenience, the gray skies, the muted colors.
But I see an amazing creation. I see the New Year emerging. I see our home, warm and inviting, in the middle of the wet trees and the piles of leaves. I feel like I am acquiring an undivided heart when it comes to appreciating the world around me, and I pray that it stays that way all winter long.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19
Rebekah went on to point out that an undivided heart is not something we can achieve by our own determination, like “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” Purity of heart is the product of cultivating a more intentional relationship with God.
What better goal for 2015 than to invest in a relationship with our Creator?
It’s another Monday. It’s the beginning of a new year. It’s the last day of Christmas.
So we have this choice. We can see the piles of dead Christmas trees piled by the side of the road, consigned to the dump, sad remnants of tinsel clinging hopelessly to a lost cause, bedraggled in the cold rain, the occasional wayward ornament holding on for dear life… Or we can step into the post-holiday world renewed by the light of the living Savior, undivided hearts committed to walking in faith, and we can see so clearly that the world becomes beautiful again.
Because it’s all about Jesus – DEREK