July 13, 2012
"It is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'" Mark 7:15 (NIV 1984)
When I was little, if I talked disrespectfully to my parents, they would wash my mouth out with soap. It tasted awful! But one thing it didn't do was wash away the attitude in my heart that caused sassy words to spew from my lips.
Jesus told the people, "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'" (Mark 7:15b, 21-23 NIV 1984).
Whew, that is some list! But why did Jesus take the time to name each one of those evils? We know that not one word in the Bible is wasted, so there is purpose behind Him listing each one to the crowd. Maybe there were folks there who looked good on the outside, but their hearts were unclean.
Perhaps, like me, they were not surprised when He mentioned murder, adultery, or theft. But I wonder what the reaction was when Jesus included more hidden sins like arrogance, envy and greed too.
The dictionary describes arrogance as "an offensive display of superiority or self-importance; or overbearing pride."
At first glance, we may think that doesn't apply to us. But if we let the Holy Spirit shine His search light on our heart, we may find times when we have thought, "Well, at least I'm not THAT bad," or "It's amazing her kids turned out as good as they did."
Envy is pretty sly at hiding in our hearts as well. It is the feeling of discontent with regards to other's success or belongings. Does your friend have a new car, a great body or a nice home? If so, do you ever look at her with jealousy and long for what she has? If so, that's envy. Ouch!
Then there is greed, the excessive desire for wealth or possessions. Maybe we don't think we are excessive in our want for more, but how much time do we spend trying to make more money or get more stuff? And how stingy are we with what we have?
What would it look like to take those three definitions and clean them up?
• Un-arrogance: a gracious display of selflessness • Un-envy: being completely content with all of our blessings • Un-greed: a desire to share what God has given us
That sounds like a clean heart to me!
Today I challenge myself with the words Jesus spoke, "It is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'" Today, I will set my mind to being un-arrogant, un-envious and un-greedy. Yes, today I want to live with a clean heart.
Dear Lord, thank You for shining Your light on my heart so I can see where it is unclean. Illuminate those sins that I dirty myself with and cleanse me from the inside out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
God's Purpose for Every Woman by P31 devotion authors
Will you pray about sharing your heart with a Compassion International child?
Reflect and Respond:
Make a list of the things that occupy your mind. Do any fall in the categories Jesus mentioned as evidence of an unclean heart?
Ask Jesus to replace those desires with His.
Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)
Matthew 15:8, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (NIV)
© 2012 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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