Read: Mark 7:1-37
“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 7:20-23
Jesus is getting grief from the religious leaders for not following their traditions and so He gives it back to them. He points out their hypocrisy and the fact that they are good rule followers on the outside, but on the inside (where it matters) they are full of corruption; that their outward behavior is simply going through the motions. God isn’t pleased with that.
The long and the short of this passage is that going through religious motions on the outside doesn’t necessarily change our hearts. It can make us look good to others, but God isn’t fooled.
For us, praying, reading the Bible, going to church, fasting, etc., are good practices and can be profound. But we can’t simply go through the motions and not look at what is going on inside. We must be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others at times. We must invite God in and give Him permission to make our hearts right. And we must ruthlessly evaluate the condition and motivations of our own hearts. It’s then that the spiritual practices of faith come alive…
So let me ask you… how is your heart today?
Jesus – search my heart and show me where I’m being a hypocrite. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. In Jesus’ name, amen.