Clean Hearts

Luann Prater

"It is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean’." Mark 7:15b (NIV)

Most women dislike feeling unclean. We prefer to shower, perfume and powder! But it takes more than dirt to make a heart unclean, and it takes much more than perfume to make it pure.
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-23, NIV).

Whew! That is some list of issues! 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 the Savior spelling out each one to this crowd. Maybe there were folks in the crowd who looked good on the outside, but their hearts were unclean.

It is easy to understand why the Lord would mention the so-called "big sins" like murder, adultery, or theft making us unclean. But Jesus lumped in some seemingly "small sins" like arrogance, envy and greed too. Those are sins we often cover over with some perfume and powder.

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 another’s advantages, success or possessions. Does your friend have a new car, a new flat screen TV, or a nicer home? And does that make you look at her or at your possessions with disdain? 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 desire for things, but how much time do we spend trying to make more money? How stingy are we with what we have? Compared to what most nations have, we live in abundance, and yet we seem to have one eye forever focused on getting more.

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 my blessings
• Un-greed – an excessive desire for God and His righteousness

That sounds like a clean heart to me! So 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.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby

The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson

Visit Luann’s Blog

Application Steps:
Make a list of the things that occupy your mind. Do any fall in the categories mentioned by Jesus of an unclean heart?

Ask Jesus to replace those desires with a clean heart.

How do I hurt others or myself with my arrogance, envy or greed?

Who needs me to be selfless, content and godly today?

Power Verses:
Matthew 15:8, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (NIV)

Luke 3:14b, "He replied, "Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay." (NIV)

Matthew 19:21, "Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (NIV)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this devotion today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

once again, I needed this cry has been create in me a clean heart oh Lord. ty ty ty for this blessing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this is exactly what i am living thank you Lord for reaching me trow this ministrie.Sylvie

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been entangled in a dating site and I want to look at it all the time. My first look at this site was yesterday, and I want to be a part of this instead of the dating site. Praise the Lord that He is breaking those chains that have bound me for so long!!! What a Wonderful, Mighty God we serve!! This site is one of the things that was on my mind, and I no longer want to be a part of it. Thank you for provoking me to want to have a more clean heart!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to say thank you to the Lord above for having you to send out this devotion today. I really needed an eye opener and this is exactly what I needed to hear. I recently found out my husband is cheating on me and he has no clue that I know, I have not been able to find the strength to confront him. So, instead, I have turned to another male companion for the love and affection that I am no longer getting at home. We have only talked on the phone but the feelings are there and something else was getting ready to happen, UNTIL........I read the devotion today. I am trying to get myself right with God and make things better with my husband and this helped to me to understand that I need to clean my heart because it is very un-clean right now. Thank you Jesus for this wonderful reach out ministry that you have provided through Proverbs31. I thank God for all of you because each story / devotional is always inspirational but today, this one hit home!! Thank you again :o)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awsome devotion! I have recently been giving to much thought to materlistic a car to be exzact. I don't want any of my sins to seperate me from the father! I know I raally can't afford a car right now . so i am going to pray for strength to overcome this temptation, and be blessed with more peace in my life! Thanks for this ministry and god speed! ksn

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Lord is so amazing! He knows what we need when we need it. It is so amazing to read these comments. To whomever may read this: You are not alone in whatever you are going through. If you are still afraid to say anything on here, please let me say if I may, that we are women that share a lot of the same hurts, and frustrations. Only when you begin to come out of your comfort zone and step out a little, then and only then is when you truly begin to change!! God wants to change us from the inside out, and we can only do that if we take the time to form relationships, that will last a lifetime. If you are struggling please let us know, so we can agree together in prayer and see these things come to pass. With Love and Prayers, LaRae.

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