Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
A pastor I really respect from my church made the statement that to have a pure heart meant that one was single-minded.
Coming out of a Christian culture obsessed with sexual-purity, my teenaged self had always just assumed the beatitude was connecting to saving sex for marriage. Hearing this new definition as a young adult struck a chord with me.
Single-minded. Having one single driving purpose. A lone resolve.
Had I ever been after just one thing?
I wrote previously about the realization that I have been pursuing things other than Christ. This has been the case for, well, forever. Encountering the question, “Have I ever been single-minded?” The answer was no, Definitely not.
This begged a different question, though: If I had other driving purposes competing for my attention, what were they?
There were multiple answers, but the biggest one was embarrassing to me.
I had read a book in high school that was very influential in me devoting my life to Christ. It was also very influential in cultivating some very militant thoughts toward dating, modesty, and culture that have take the ten years since reading to be set straight by scripture and patient, truth-minded people. God uses all things, I guess…
The author stated that she believed that if you truly wanted to be married in your heart-of-hearts, God would grant that in his time. She based this out of Psalm 37, where David writes, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Listening to the pastor talk about single-mindedness all those years later, I was struck by the fact that I had been following God for all the wrong reasons.
I had literally been pursuing God in hopes that he would provide someone to pursue me. And that wasn’t happening and I was growing disillusioned.
I was following Jesus because I believed that if I followed him hard enough, he would give me the desires of my heart. Like he was a magic boy-friend producing genie.
Call me double-minded with impure motives. Color me foolish. Trust me, I felt it. By the grace of God, I felt it.
In the couple years since being presented with this, I’ve since had a chance to look at Psalm 37 again. And here is the question I have:
I was looking at that verse like God was in an infomercial. “Follow me in the next ten minutes and I’ll throw in whatever you want!” What if he is not promising to give us what we desire right now if we throw in our lot with him, but something bigger.
What if he is saying that when we follow him, he will give us something for our hearts to truly desire—that he will give us desire in and of itself?
As I have prayed for single-mindedness rather than an end to my singleness, I have found that the spirit is cultivating something new in me.
Yes, I still long for a partner, but there is a new trust that if that doesn’t happen, it will be all right. There is beginning to be a desire Jesus more than a husband. Delighting in the Lord becomes more and more the desire of my heart.
I still cannot say than I am single-minded, but by God’s grace, he has begun to change my tastes. He is cultivating a purity of heart that I am not capable of doing on my own. This cultivation reveals my desire for love and acceptance, and wholeness that my double-hearted nature wants me to believe will be fulfilled with lesser things. It is through time in the word, in prayer, and in community with the body of Christ that my heart sees what it needs to focus on and what it truly desires.
So yes, I may be single. But that also may be what God is using to cultivate single-mindedness.