Friday, 1 May 2020 Mark 7: 1-23
“…there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him.” -Mark 7:15[AMP]
While the world is so much fascinated by the externals, laying so much emphasis on what is seen on the outside, Christ Jesus lays emphasis for the “interior.” Today’s reading tells us how He sees beyond the exterior of man to what’s happening in his heart! The Pharisees were concerned about clean hands while Jesus was concerned about clean hearts!
In trying to find fault with the disciples of Jesus, the Pharisees revealed their true nature- importance in their traditions that actually bypassed the essence of God’s commands. Hence Jesus quoted Isaiah: ‘‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Paying lip service to God while our heart is not in it, can happen if we aren’t careful.
Coming to the crux of the message is the matter of the heart! The heart, the seat of our emotional being, is very important in all we do. If the heart is not “in order”- it will be reflected in the quality of our life. Hence Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” If our very life is determined by the condition of our heart, isn’t it of utmost importance to fix that aspect first?
Let’s look at a few steps:
GIVE your heart to Jesus so He can be at its centre: Jeremiah 17:9 gives the picture of a degenerate heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Hence the need to give it to the One who can transform it! Christ’s shed blood can cleanse the heart of all wickedness and sin so that He can give you a new heart where He can write His laws. (Ref: Eze.36:26; Jer.31:33)
GET His Word in the heart to direct its course: Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” If we are not diligent in depositing God’s Word in our hearts, other philosophies and wisdom of the world will shape our thoughts which will direct our actions. Carefully instructing ourselves in the Word and applying it will guide the course of our life in the right direction.
GUARD the heart against defilement: Mark 7:21-22 of our text gives the list of “proceeds” from an evil heart. If our heart goes unchecked from time to time, the wicked one can deposit his junk or sow seeds of sin, from which will grow unwanted weeds that will clutter/choke your life! Hence a replacement therapy is required! The replacement list is in Phil..4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” We need to learn to willfully persevere to guard our heart from wicked thoughts taking root in our lives which will defile us.
Having understood the importance of keeping the heart, let us “dig deep” within ourselves today and see where our heart stands in terms of the 3 steps outlined above. If you need to start from the first step of inviting Jesus into your heart, do it in all sincerity that He will give you a new heart, to begin with. If the clutter of sin has had a stronghold in our hearts, let us confess them to the Lord so that His blood can cleanse us and let us continue to let His word grow strong in us so that we won’t become defiled.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(Psalm 139:23,24 NLT)
Listen: ‘Purify my heart’