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The Secret to Having a Pure Heart (Gateway Conference)

Pastor Robert Morris sharing his key to having a pure heart at Gateway conference.
Robert Morris, Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas

Having a pure heart is something that every Christian should strive to possess. Jesus said in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Life is more beautiful with a pure heart and it enables us to see things how they really are. How, then, does one cultivate a pure heart, especially if their mind has already been polluted with filth?

An interviewer at Gateway Conference asked Pastors Robert Morris and Jimmy Evans how they keep their hearts pure. Their responses were simple yet powerful. Daily quiet time with God, they say, is the lifeblood of the Christian life. It is in the presence of the pure one that a man becomes pure. Daily quiet time, typically first thing in the morning, consists of prayer, meditation, and worship. It sets the tone for the rest of one’s day and the rest of one’s life.

I’ve heard it said that moral failure is a failure of relationship as much as it is a failure of self-control. It follows that a strong relationship with God is the greatest antidote to evil of any kind. As always, you can find the video and transcript below.

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Interviewer: Keeping the pulpit pure–contrast that a little bit to keeping your own personal devotional life pure. Because those two could easily blend together, so what have you done in order to keep the pulpit and keep your own personal relationship with the Lord pure?

Morris: Well, I never studied before I had my quiet time. Jimmy is the same way, and I know this. I’m a Christian first. You can’t be a preacher first or a pastor first. And so I’ll go in that room and could have a message burning. I could wake up with some thoughts. I might jot those thoughts down, so I don’t forget them, but then I’m going to have my quiet time I’m going to meet with God every day. And even when I’m meeting with him I may see a facet that I think “Oh, that’d be good.” I’m going to jot it down, but then I’m going to go back to my quiet time. For me, keeping me pure is meeting with the pure one every day.

You know it’s hard to have pride. I’m trying to think of how to say this in a really good way. It’s hard to have pride when you’re in his presence. Have you ever noticed that? It’s hard to think that you’re big when you’re looking at his toe, and only see part of it, one of those itty-bitty lines of his toe print. It’s hard to feel big. It’s hard to feel prideful. It’s hard to be impure when you’re in the presence of a pure one–to have an impure thought. And we have so missed this. We’ve gotten into such a habit of reading like Craig said last night.

He was at a place–and I’ve been there–when he read the Bible to get sermons. And you have to still be a Christian. You have to spend time with God and it’s not you have to. You get to. Isn’t that amazing? You get to actually have a personal relationship with God. And that’s what’s kept me sane over the years–meeting with the sane one.

Evans: My goal is unbroken intimacy with God. My goal is never to break intimacy with the Lord. So my quiet time is to establish at the beginning of the day that intimacy with the Lord. And when I say intimacy, I just mean the worship, hearing his voice, reading the Word, praying. But my prayers begin in the morning, but my goal is intimacy all day long. And what I find is in that communion is where I hear everything from God. It’s in a car, it’s walking across the room. And so I don’t really have a place–I do have a quiet time place–but it’s where it starts. And my goal is don’t break that all day long.

I find that in that intimacy and in that communion, every answer, wisdom, revelation. Every single thing I hear from God, I hear in that environment. And so if I didn’t have that environment, I think the only answer is to try to come up with messages which I think would just be horrible. If you aren’t hearing God, I’m saying as a pastor–and I’ve done that, there have been times in my ministry where I was not hearing God and I was not at a good place with the Lord. I was too busy. Certain times there was a sin in my life. Not a violation–nothing to disqualify me–but my heart wasn’t right.

And in those times I remember how hard it was to prepare because I was trying to massage thoughts together to make a message, and it wasn’t flowing out of [a natural place]. Preaching under the anointing is like launching missiles. Preaching without the anointing is like pulling heavy rocks out of a deep well. The words don’t flow, you have to force them. I want messages that flow out of that intimacy, and my quiet time is what established that. And if there is something that I feel like is wrong with me and God, that’s where I deal with it–is in that quiet time.

But I just feel like Pastor Robert. I don’t know to do what we do without that.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).


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