Anyone who has driven in foggy conditions understands how 3 percent of weather-related traffic fatalities in the U.S. occur as a result of fog, according to the Federal Highway Administration. I have driven sight-impaired on more than one occasion. After all, we live in a city with occasional fog and winter blizzards. Driving blind is neither safe nor fun. There are guesses, squinting eyes and assumptions involved in fog driving.
Some people live in a fog. It might be the fog of depression, discord, confusion or one exacerbated by mind-affecting prescription medications. Whatever the cause, it is tough driving or living in a fog. Relief is great when the fog lifts. Sight and clarity are beautiful. “Ah!” is the reaction when the fog lifts; “aha!” when the light comes on.
Jesus spoke in His mountain message about the benefits of people who take the right steps toward God (Matthew 5:1–12). They inherit the kingdom of heaven and the earth, are comforted and satisfied, receive mercy and become a little more like the one in whom they have faith. In other words, there are benefits received in making the right decisions and taking the right steps.
One of the Beatitudes promises a benefit that is not so much about inheriting anything or receiving anything. Instead, the promise for the pure in heart is clarity of the most important kind —access and ability to see God. It says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Now, we know that we will see God clearly in heaven. We get a glimpse of that clarity in John’s Revelation. But, the Beatitudes are about being blessed in the present —receiving comfort, kingdom inheritance, mercy and the like. The promise for the pure in heart is nothing less than clarity to see God as He is —not as we might want Him to be or fear Him to be. Vague, personal opinion about God or popular belief about God succumbs to the reality of seeing God as He really is for the pure in heart.
Those who lack purity will never see God in this life with the purity and perfection in which He dwells. They will always be limited to trying to figure Him out or guess what He is like. When a person is forgiven, however, they see God as the forgiver. When a person experiences the love of God, they see Him as the lover of humanity and one who is kind. We see God from the orientation of our heart. King David said it like this: “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd” (2 Samuel 22:26–27).
The pure in heart see God. They not only see Him, they see Him as He is, not as some suppose Him to be. Frankly, that is the only way anyone should want to see God —as He is in perfection and purity with a will bent on saving His creation.
That alone is reason enough to want to seek purity through forgiveness and living in holiness. Everything else is supplemental benefit. When we see God as He is, we in turn see the world as He sees it —a world worth loving and redeeming. The fog never remains for the pure in heart. They have the benefit of seeing God clearly and similarly to see the world (both good and bad) around them clearly. Purity makes the clean seem cleaner and the dirty seem dirtier.
This is perhaps the most common experience of a new Christ-follower. I often hear new believers say something to the effect, “Everything is clearer now. I feel as though the things that made no sense now do. I feel as though the priorities I once held are now exposed as flawed and failed attempts to order my own world. I never knew God was this good, loving and kind. I feel as though my eyes are opened for the first time in my life.”
When the fog lifts, the common experience is one of desiring to get to know God even better and to confess even more and thus to have the eyes opened even wider. Seeing God is truly a blessed way to live. It is reserved for the pure in heart. If any fog clouds your vision or life, the invitation is to seek God’s forgiveness and peace and pursue holiness. With that comes clarity and the ability to see God as wonderful as He is with the fog of life dissipated.
Bishop Matthew Thomas has been an active part of the Free Methodist Church since 1979. His ministry roles have included serving as a pastor, church planter, missionary and superintendent.