Blessed… 99 44/100% Pure

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8, New Revised Standard Version).

It’s been their claim to fame for more than 100 years, “99 and 44/100% pure.” Ivory Soap is coming up on its 200th anniversary, first around in 1840 and sold under the name “Ivorine” and later sold to Proctor and Gamble who began selling the soap under a new name, “Ivory.” The slogan itself began after Harley Proctor hired an independent laboratory to analyze the soap in 1895.

As marketing campaigns go, the slogan sounds really good. To be honest, it does make me wonder what the 56/100% is that is not “pure.” Whatever that small portion is might keep some of us from ever wanting to use Ivory again.

We often think that a product like Ivory is great. It is so close to being pure and yet there is something there that isn’t quite right. Several years ago there was an urban legend floating around that McDonald’s used beef products in their “100% beef patties.” While not at all true, it did cause some folks to shy away from the world’s most popular hamburger.

The bottom line is, if it’s not 100 percent pure, do we really want to eat it? Most of us would say no. A scene from the movie/book, The Help featuring brownies with a special ingredient comes to mind.

So, if I am 99 and 44/100% pure in heart, is that good enough for me to see God as the Beatitude above suggests? Well, the answer isn’t as simple as the question might make it seem. That is because Matthew doesn’t say to us anything about being 100 percent pure or what fraction of purity is actually acceptable for us to see God.

Some 30 or more years ago I worked with a woman who believed she was a good person, and I would say in general she was and that she would be acceptable to God. I would answer that she is, but not because of herself. Pure in heart, at least the way I read it, is pure in heart. Mostly pure, just like those brownies in The Help isn’t good enough. Being pure isn’t even Ivory Soap good. We need more. So no, in and of ourselves, we aren’t good enough to see God because none of us are truly pure in heart.

That is the bad news. But, there is also good news. God loves us and wants a relationship with us enough to give us more than we deserve. For we who desire a real relationship with God, there is the free gift of grace. God takes whatever part of us isn’t pure and through grace makes us fully pure. Then, because we are truly pure in heart, we can see God. I can’t think of better news for any of us than that.

What is keeping you from being pure in heart and would prevent you from seeing God? Accept the free gift of grace. God offers it to each of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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