Gracious Lord, open my heart and mind to listen to You. Speak now through Your holy Word.
Read Mark 7:14-23
 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.  Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.'”  After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.  “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?  For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)  He went on: “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.'” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhere does real “uncleanness” in a person originate?
However hard you might try, you can never completely protect yourself from external things that could be considered “unclean.” For us, maybe it’s not so much about what we eat, but rather what we watch on TV or conversations we overhear. The world is full of things that might be seen to defile.
Jesus himself knew what it was to be tempted (see Matt. 4:1-11), but temptation had not defiled his heart. Temptation is not sin in itself. It only defiles us once we receive it into our hearts and allow it to take hold, feeding evil thoughts already present. If we keep our hearts clean, we can face temptation and be unaffected by it, like Jesus was.
Here Jesus is talking about eating food that the Jews considered “unclean.” In other places we see him touching people who were outcasts because they were deemed unclean. The cleanliness inside Jesus—his holiness—was so strong that he was able to walk through an unclean world without being defiled. Because he kept his inside clean, only good and pure things flowed out of him.
Examine your heart. Does it look more like Jesus’ description here (21,22) or that in Galatians 5:22,23.
Thank Jesus for the cross. Thank him that his blood has cleansed you and reconciled you to the Father.
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