It’s been a few weeks since I talked about the Beatitudes in the Bedroom. I’ve been looking at how this passage relates to our marriages and marriage beds. Here’s the passage of Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
My previous posts have covered Poor in Spirit, Those Who Mourn, The Meek, Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness, and The Merciful. This week let’s talk about pure in heart.Being a curious gal, I once again wanted to know the original Greek words for pure and heart. The heart word is kardia, which is really straightforward. Think about the English root word cardio; put it in front of anything, and you know we’re talking heart (cardiovascular, cardiologist, cardiogram, etc.).
But the Greek word for pure is katharos. You might also recognize that one, because it’s where we derive our word catharsis. If something is cathartic, it’s emotionally cleansing, so to speak. And indeed, katharos is typically translated as either pure or clean.
In the Bible, a couple of other uses of katharos caught my attention. John 13 shares the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet at the Passover supper before His death, burial, and resurrection. When Jesus gets to Peter, there’s this exchange:
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”
Just because our skin is clean doesn’t mean that we are truly pure, as Jesus pointed out in His last statement. The purity in heart that we seek really comes from being washed by Jesus!
The next passage with katharos that caught my eye, and which I want to focus on, is from Revelation 19:
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Marriage is often used in the Word of God as a representation of God’s relationship to His people, both in the Old and New Testaments. Here in Revelation, once again God’s people are compared to a bride … and our groom is the Lamb Himself, Jesus Christ. What does the bride wear for such an event? She is given fine linen, bright and pure.
I think about this image of a bride in pure garments readying herself not only for the nuptials, but the wedding night and the honeymoon. Here she’s at her very purest, embracing God’s design for intimacy.
And that’s so very different from how many Christian wives feel about sex in their marriage. The messages they received in the Church, or even receive now, make it seem like purity and sex are opposites.
Come close, girlfriend, because I want to tell you God’s truth: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. And your heart is 100% pure if you are pursuing sexual intimacy according to God’s design for marriage.
This was one of my biggest struggles when I got married. I honestly thought that, with a couple of I Dos, I would leave my premarital promiscuous past behind, never to feel the burden of guilt again. But my actions had connected these two things in my heart: sex and sin. And there wasn’t anyone insisting that God had an entirely different way of looking at things. So while I enjoyed sex in my marriage, I felt unclean at some level, as if me desiring sex with my husband was not quite the fine, clean linen I should be wearing.
What a lie!
Impurity is seeking and engaging in things outside of God’s will. Sin is often defined as missing the mark. But God’s will is for His married children to engage in healthy, holy, and even heat-rising sex — it’s right on target for marriage.
Sweet, sexy wife, please know that your libido is a beautiful provision, that your sensuality is God-given, that your pleasure in the marriage bed is pure. Yes, we can mess up our marriage beds in all kinds of ways, but the healthy desire to engage in God’s gift of sex is a blessing. It’s a pure-in-heart thing.
Seek His purity in your marital bedroom. Find out what that looks like. Wrestle with the wrong messages you’ve received and replace them with biblical truths. Dig deep for answers to the problems you’re facing with your sexuality or your relationship with your husband. Pray for Jesus to wash your heart completely and make it pure in your marriage. Then enjoy the blessings that God wants you to have.
7 thoughts on “The Beatitudes in the Bedroom: Pure in Heart”
J, This is a good series. I am going to share this post with my wives newsletter.
Great post! My wife and I both brought wrong understandings of marital sex into our marriage. Mine was that sex is all about the physical pleasure we both give and receive, but it has little to do with emotional intimacy and certainly had no spiritual significance. She thought that sex was allowable, maybe enjoyable, but was about the least spiritual thing a husband and wife do together.
We both have been cured of these wrong ideas, but it was not with any help from the church. Most churches still don’t deal with sexuality except to say that before marriage or outside marriage, it’s bad. In marriage, go ahead, but it’s still a rather “fleshly” thing to do.
I love the line in “Chariots of Fire” where Eric Liddel says, “God made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” God made us sexual, and when we have sex, we feel His pleasure. In a way, when a husband and wife are in this most intimate of activities, we are participating in a sort of “spiritual drama,” enacting physically what Paul says in Ephesians 5 about Christ loving the church. It is a mystery, and it shows the love of a God who wants His children to experience some of the ecstasy of His love in the way He created us.
I’m so glad more and more churches are doing a better job talking about sexuality these days. Our church’s marriage prep is really good on the subject, both in dealing with the practicalities of sex and the emotional and spiritual side of sex. Our marriage mentors have seen it all over their years of counseling couples, and are really straightforward with people that no one goes into marriage without sexual baggage. Preparing people to deal with that is so vital.
I LOVE how you’ve taken that quote of Eric Liddel’s and applied it to marriage. So good!
I really like what you have to say here J. I love how you encourage women to embrace their sexual desires.
Keelie, men also need to embrace their sexual desires, in the sense that we men are constantly being told that our sexual desires are “fleshly” and not “spiritual.” The key is to understand that I don’t desire sex, I desire my wife sexually. (Thanks, Paul Byerly!) In our marriage bed, we are free to do whatever we desire, with mutual respect and love, serving each other, and honoring God with our bodies.
Men and women alike often need to leave the sexual baggage of the past behind. God has done an amazing thing for my wife and me by restoring our sexual relationship to better than ever, mainly because we both finally understood that God designed us to sexually serve and enjoy each other. Keeping the marriage bed pure doesn’t just mean avoiding sexual sin. It means also that God is present there as well, and we honor Him in this way.
Thanks so much for writing this J, and for giving me a new way to think about the word “pure.” I’ll admit that, being raised in the “purity culture” of the 90’s, and the damage it did to me over the years, I’d kind of come to hate that word. Like you said, because of the church and it’s emphasis on premarital purity, and my own permiscuous past, I have had a hard time seeing even my married sex as pure, or my high drive for my husband as a godly thing. It hasn’t stopped us from having sex and plenty of it, but there’s always an internal cloud over it when I think about it from a purity standpoint. My mind knows it’s ok, but somehow it hasn’t quite reached my heart and my spirit. Your post went a long way toward making that happen, and I sincerely thank you for writing it. God is using it already, and I imagine I’ll re-read it a couple times in the next few weeks.
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