Today’s Devotional Thought: Melting Wax...
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
God wants real authenticity from us. He didn’t pay for us with the blood and body of Jesus for just the appearance of authenticity. He payed the price for the real you, the authentic you. So, Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart.” Blessed are those who are not pretending to be more than they really are or something they’re not. There’s happiness in that.
And the word pure here—it’s the idea of “undivided.” It is authentic. It is a sincere heart. My favorite description of what it means to be pure in heart is from Soren Kirkegaaurd who said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” What that means, in essence, is that we don’t have a divided loyalty. Jesus once said, “a house divided upon itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25) Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24).
An impure heart is one divided in its loyalties. The Bible has another word for that. It is hypocrisy, “Hypocrite” comes from a Greek word used in the theater to describe being of two faces, or acting. It is pretending to be something or someone you’re not. So, the opposite of being pure in heart is hypocrisy.
Matthew records these words of Jesus within a sermon Jesus preaches at the beginning of his ministry called, “The Sermon on the Mount.” At the end of Jesus’ ministry Matthew records Jesus’ last sermon. It is called, “The Sermon of the Seven Woes.” So, in Matthew 5 Jesus starts his ministry with, “Blessed is the one...” Then he ends his ministry with, “Woe to you hypocrite.” And so we find that Jesus begins and he ends his ministry with this truth: blessed are the sincere, but woe to you who are faking it.
In ancient Rome, sculpting was a popular profession. There were a lot of sculptors because there was a big demand in the marketplace. All kinds of false gods were sculpted and then sold. And because there was so much demand, there were a lot of sculptors who really weren’t very good sculptors. I mean, they were inferior craftsman. They would build these sculptures because they wanted to make a quick buck, but it wasn’t a great product. So the legitimate sculptors started to mark their statues with these words: "Sine cera." This is where we get our word "sincere" from. And the word "sine cera" literally means, “without wax.” The reason is due to the fact that the inferior sculptors would put wax in the cracks and the pieces that didn’t quite get molded right. They would fill those in with wax. They were good at faking it so if you’re just looking at the sculpture, on the outside, it looks fine; it looks perfectly acceptable. But a lot of it is actually wax. And so those who were pure sculptors, those who were genuine sculptures, they would say "sine cera," or “without wax.” They would mark it that way. Then they would set their sculptures out in the sun, and the sun would expose whether or not there was wax. The sun would melt the wax. So it was shown and proven to be pure.
The light that can melt our wax off is the suffering Christ who died for our sins. He can produce in us a pure heart if our greatest desire is to seek him with all our heart. Then we will discover that there is blessing (happiness, joy) in being real and sincerely seeking after Him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, melt our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh that are on fire for you. Unify our hearts with the single purpose of pursuing your Son Jesus. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12). In Jesus name, amen.