“From within the hearts of people come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a person.”
Back in Jesus’s day, the religious leaders were quite focused on all the rules and regulations they had formed out of the old, Mosaic law. Righteousness, to them, meant strictly following all the many rules they had designed for themselves.
Jesus came to break that mold, and he set a new standard.
The Pharisees were questioning him one day and trying to trip him up with all of their doctrine. One of those doctrines, which is largely still in place among some religious circles, has to do with what foods people can eat, and when, and how it’s prepared, and so on.
If a person in that day was to eat “unclean” food — that is, food which violated the religious doctrine — they were themselves deemed unclean and unholy. Of course, only the religious leaders who made up the rules could absolve the unclean from their sins.
Jesus didn’t pull punches. He made the obvious point that it’s not what a person eats which makes them unclean or sinful. Granted, there are foods that are bad for us and we should probably avoid, but sin and unrighteousness comes from within, out of the heart.
The pursuit of spiritual health means making a concerted effort to remove the sinful nature from within us — wickedness, envy, arrogance, etc. We have to strive to be kind and loving, in all we do.
The only way we can do that is to undergo a transformational change within, deep inside our hearts. We must be honest with ourselves, and sincere in wanting that change. Salvation doesn’t come by what we do; it comes through who we choose to be within.
God sees the heart.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
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