"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.
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
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?
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)