Mark 7:14-23: How’s your heart?
“14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.’ 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) 20 He went on: ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.’” NIV UK
The Jews, in their traditions, followed strict dietary rules. They believed that certain things you ate could ‘’defile’’ you. ‘Christ the controversialist,’ flatly contradicted that point. The heart of man’s problem is the problem of man’s heart. Jesus showed that we don’t have tummy problems so much as a heart defect. As Proverbs says, above everything you need to guard your heart, for out of it flows the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
To draw from a picture painted by C.S.Lewis, in my ‘cellar’ I can see lots of ugly ‘creepy-crawlies.’ If I don’t deal with them radically and immediately, they will proliferate, and eventually take over the whole house. I could be overrun and eventually destroyed by them.
Can you see what’s at stake?
You don’t have to be overly concerned today about what’s on the menu today. But it should bother you if you are letting things run riot down in the ‘cellar’ – ‘squatters’ who really don’t belong there. It is a human trait to get massively worked up over things which don’t really matter, and to neglect the most important issues.
The big New Testament picture would say to those in Christ, ‘Put these things to death, because you can by the power of the Spirit.’ Nail them to the cross; crucify the flesh.
Kill them, before they destroy you. There is a need for spiritual ‘pest control’.
PRAYER: ‘’Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.’’ Psalm 51:10.