Have you ever struggled with influencing your boss? Are you unable to effectively communicate with your spouse? Does the coach of your team seem immovable? In our sinful nature, we have a tendency to respond to conflict with other leaders in three foolish patterns. First, we act with an impure heart, one with mixed motives, mostly selfish at the expense of the interests of God and others. Second, we frequently use hateful speech, words and tone that tear down, rather than build up, our counterparts. Third, we react in an unskilled manner by not investing in the growth of our God-given skills, let alone our wise conflict management muscles. To compound our problem, the challenging people in our lives often operate with these same three liabilities. Consequently, when our wills conflict, we pursue a pathway toward catastrophic encounters that hinder us from leading the strong personalities in our lives. Solomon shared the solution to this dilemma by offering three secrets to leading leaders.
First, Solomon taught to love a pure heart: “One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend” (Proverbs 22:11). A pure heart has no mixed motives because a pure heart is fully surrendered to God, free from selfish motives, and ready to serve another person’s needs. The Bible uses the word “pure” most frequently in reference to precious metal, usually gold. Precious metal must be refined to become pure. This process involves intense heart that brings impurities to the top of the crucible for silver or the furnace for gold, so the refiner can remove them. The deepest impurities rise last after an intense time of heat. Just like the crucible is used for silver and the furnace for gold, so God tests our hearts to discover whether they are pure, wholly devoted, or fully surrendered, to Him (see Proverbs 17:3). The apostle Paul warned us to not be led away from our pure and sincere devotion to Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:3).
Our ultimate example of a pure heart is the heart of Christ. The Bible tells us that Christ is pure in heart (see 1 John 3:3; Hebrews 7:26). He demonstrated a fully surrendered heart with unmixed devotion to the Father. Jesus taught: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). The God of the universe demonstrates His kingdom in the hearts and lives of the pure in heart. They see Christ in themselves. This is illustrated in the molding of silver or gold. The metal refining process continues until the refiner can see his reflection in the metal, and then the metal is fashioned in its useful state.
As the refiner of the heart, God removes our impurities until He sees the reflection of Christ’s pure heart in us (see Romans 8:29). When God sees Christ in us, we see God. David communicated that God would show Himself pure to the pure in heart, but He would judge those with mixed devotions (see 2 Samuel 22:27; cf. Psalm 18:26).
In order to have a pure heart, we must surrender our impurities, or mixed devotions. Ask God to search your heart for any mixed devotion and to renew in you a pure heart, one that is fully devoted to Him. You will be satisfied through your unmixed devotion to the Creator who will reveal Christ in you.