People who own greenhouses are usually in the business of selling flowers or other shrubbery or just want one so they can keep flowers year round. The temperature is warmer in a greenhouse. Thus the name we are familiar with in our world as we talk about the greenhouse effect or global warming. Since the temperature is warm—and since the roof protects the flowers from such things as frost or the harmful rays of the sun—flowers can be kept year round. Usually, plants grow faster, better, and healthier in a greenhouse.
But suppose we walked into a field and stripped seeds off of weeds and planted them in our greenhouse. If I had said I wanted a greenhouse full of flowers and fruit trees, someone would question my sanity. But suppose I said, “Do you have any idea how much those flower and fruit tree seeds cost? Besides, I would have to drive all the way to the garden center to get them. No thanks, I’m taking the easy and cheap route.” Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
In this Beatitude, Jesus says; “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” Jesus later tells a parable of a farmer sowing seed. Some of the seed fell on the footpath that ran between the fields. It was packed down. The birds came and ate the seed. Other seed fell on soil that was shallow and had rock beneath it. While the seed sprouted, there was no depth for the roots, and it soon withered and died. Some seed fell in ground infested with thorns. Weeds soon sprouted with the seed and eventually choked out the plants. Then some seed fell on good ground, sprouted, produced plants and much fruit.
Jesus teaches in both these passages how important it is that we have pure hearts. It is only in the pure heart that he can scatter his teachings and expect fruit to result. Only the pure in heart will really be able to encounter God. Folks with impure hearts do not function correctly and cannot be used adequately by God.
Some people have worn out hearts. I once knew a man who had this condition. He was not elderly, but he just had a bad heart. They had done all they could do for him except give him a new heart. Those who are on the list for a heart transplant carry a beeper with them so they can be notified as soon as an organ becomes available. Unfortunately, he never received the new one before his battered one gave out.
Having pure hearts so we can be useful to God and others is essential. Like in many cases, when Jesus speaks of having a pure heart, he is not talking about our organ or it being in perfect shape. In God’s world, we can have a bad physical heart and still have a good heart. Words we might find more familiar are mind, will, or emotions. He wants us to have a pure mind. He wants us to be clean and pure as he was.
Going back to the greenhouse illustration, we are all familiar with the fact that we reap what we sow. If I sow the seeds from weeds in my greenhouse, I will grow weeds, not plants, flowers, or fruit. In like manner, if we sow bad things in our hearts or minds, we will reap the results. Jesus says what comes out of our mouths or in our actions is what’s really inside. If we have an evil heart or mind, then evil things will come out in our actions. We cannot consistently be someone on the outside that we are not on the inside. The reverse is also true.
Our hearts or minds are like greenhouses. They are a magnificent gift from God. The only reason the Bible classifies them as evil is because of our sinful nature. Originally, they were pure and can be made so again by receiving Christ’s forgiveness and feeding them with godly things. Our minds are also perfectly suited for growing things just as the greenhouse is. However, just like flowers or plants in the greenhouse, our minds have to be managed. Even though plants and flowers grow well in a greenhouse, they still have to be tended to. You cannot plant them, leave them alone and expect to get results.
Our thoughts as like seeds sown in a greenhouse. The thoughts we think are very important because from those thoughts will come actions. Some of our thoughts bloom like beautiful flowers, but some of our thoughts turn out to be weeds. We can sow seeds of hope, and we will have an optimistic outlook on life, but we can sow thoughts of doubt and become a pessimist. People act differently because of the type of thoughts they think.
Since our hearts or minds are like greenhouses, we must be careful about what we sow. We should be very selective what seeds we let in the door. In Proverbs, we read, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do” (Proverbs 4:23). This is true in the spiritual sense but also in the physical realm. If we have a bad heart, we will be limited in what we can do physically. Spiritually speaking, if we have a bad heart, it will affect how God can use us.
God expects us to take care of what enters our minds or hearts. Our hearts or minds are the dwelling place of his Spirit, and we must be careful what we let in. Thought management is important.
Jesus managed his thoughts, and as his followers, we have the same responsibility. When the people tried to make him king on one occasion, he rejected their intentions, knowing this was not God’s plan. In doing so, he kept out arrogance. On another occasion when he was telling his followers about his coming end, Peter rebuked him. Jesus classified him as acting like Satan and told him to get out of the way, thereby rejecting the thought that there was some other way to pay for our sins other than Calvary.
Paul writes in Philippians, “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had” (2:5).
The Bible says we should “fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is very simple, but more difficult in practice. If God agrees with the thought, let it in, but if he doesn’t kick it out. The Bible, of course, is the place to go to check out the right or wrongfulness of our thoughts. It is important that we guard the doorways of our hearts.