AT THE HEART OF OUR DECISIONS
“Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.) And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
Mark 7:18-23 NLT
Jesus teaches His followers about the true righteousness of the kingdom. It is not a righteousness built on external laws that govern behavior. The kingdom is built on having a transformed heart. The Jews had a lot of laws. In Mark, chapter seven, the religious leaders were upset some of Jesus’ disciples were eating without going through the religious law of washing their hands. In the leaders legal minds that made the disciples “unclean.,” But Jesus said it was not what goes in that makes you unclean, but what comes out of you that makes you unclean. Mark even puts in a parenthetical statement for his Gentile Christian readers to say that Jesus was saying every kind of food is acceptable—an issue that was very divisive in the early church. Jesus then list fourteen sins that come from the heart. It is obvious that Jesus is stressing the importance of having a clean heart to avoid evil thoughts, sexual immorality, and all the other acts of sin. When we spend time with the Word of God and the Spirit of God, we discover the way of God. The Word and Spirit illuminate areas in our heart that have become contaminated by sin. Then we allow the Holy Spirit to wash our hearts and restore righteousness in our hearts. The heart is the center of one’s being. This is where we make our decisions. I like to think of myself as being a spirit being made in the image of God. I possess a soul—my mind, will, and emotions, and I live in a body. That makes me a three-part being—spirit, soul, and body. My body is made of flesh and has been corrupted by selfish desires. My spirit has been born again and desires to please God. My soul—the mind, will, and emotions—has the swing vote. When my mind has been renewed by the Word of God and Spirit of God then my decisions are in line with God. This is why it is critical that I constantly expose my soul to the Word of God and Spirit of God. I need time with the family of God to hear and discuss the Word of God and experience the Spirit of God. There are a lot of forces in my world wanting to shape my soul into the image of the world. I can’t allow the world to shape my soul. My soul must be shaped by the Word of God, Spirit of God, and family of God.
Prayer: Holy Spirit help me to make good choices to permit God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s family to impact my life. Help me to be free from the influence of my godless society.
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