Many people worry about how others see them. They want to make sure that they’re doing and saying the right things. They want to be acceptable in their particular circle of friends.
In my last post, we saw that you can’t just go through the motions of worship if you want to please God. It has to come from the inside. The Lord explained it to the crowd that had gathered around Him.
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.'”
That concept was totally foreign to the Jewish people. They were taught that there were things that could make you unclean simply by touching them.
But that gives you a false sense of security. If you haven’t touched any unclean things, you were okay. Along with that, if you’ve observed all the prescribed ceremonies, then you were spiritually strong.
Jesus saw things from a different perspective.
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)
Jesus makes it clear. It’s what we put into our hearts that determines where our life is headed. When we eat or drink something, the usable parts are digested and distributed in the body. The waste products are expelled.
The heart, on the other hand, is the storehouse of our being. What we place in there may last a long time. Then, when we least expect it, those things in our heart my spill out.
He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”
We need to understand what Christ is teaching us here. You can’t just decide not to sin anymore. As someone who grew up in church, I can tell you from first-hand experience that this doesn’t work. I’ve personally made this decision many times throughout my life.
That’s because sin is not birthed in your mind. It’s an overflow of what you’ve been storing in your heart.
If you want to stop sinning, then you need to spend time in the Lord’s presence. That’s where our hearts are purified. It’s all about the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit in us. Because in the same way that sin in our hearts will eventually manifest itself, righteousness will do the same thing.
Let the Spirit put God’s desires, direction, and passions on the inside of you. Then, when your heart starts to spill over, it’s the fruit of the Spirit that people will see.
Question: How have you seen God’s Word overflow from your heart when you didn’t expect it?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi