Mark 7:17-23 – “When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” 20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” NKJV
There is much I would like to delve into but will refrain focusing only on the ‘defilement of man’. If we take what Jesus said literally, and we should, we will realize it is not what we eat and drink that presents the problem. It may have health consequences and shorten our stay on earth and in that it is important but when we read what the Lord is declaring we quickly realize He was focused on something far more important than what we take into our bodies.
Jesus’ focus was where ours should be, THE HEART. He gave a list not to be all inclusive but to give us the idea of what He was talking about. I am often troubled when people take a list from the Bible and attempt to make it a rigid rule. We need to always understand the principle, precept and message being conveyed. Here Jesus lists some problematic areas that defile man telling us that ‘out of the heart’ proceed:
- Evil Thoughts.
Anyone who, after even a cursory reading of the Bible, still cannot grasp that our ‘thoughts’ are critical to our spiritual health is not paying attention.
- Adulteries, Fornication.
I would contend that adultery does not ‘just happen’ like spontaneous combustion it is something that develops over time as one allows themselves to be exposed to temptation, gives place to thoughts and fantasies in the mind. The physical act is first committed in the mind then in the body.
Hatred allowed to grow in the heart and thoughts can easily become an act of violence. Therefore another reason to bring out thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ. What Would Jesus Do should not be a cliché but a practical evaluation in our thoughts!
- Thefts and Covetousness.
I would suggest to you that much theft is the result of allow covetousness to produce an attitude of entitlement, jealousy and greed where the act is justified long before it is committed.
- Wickedness, Deceit, Lewdness, an Evil Eye, Blasphemy, Pride and Foolishness.
Not to lump them together but to address that Jesus is covering the many aspects of life to illustrate that it is in THE HEART that these acts are given birth before they become realities in the flesh.
No wonder we are told to ‘guard our hearts’ and ‘muzzle our mouths’ in Scripture. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and as a man thinks in his heart so is he. It is THE HEART not a list of rules that must be conquered if we are to walk in the fullness of the Grace of God in this present world.
May the Lord be with you as you go through this day!