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The Heart or the Shell

Scripture

Our verse for today comes from Mark 7:15, ” It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. “

Background

I used to have a huge five pound jar of animal crackers on my desk, and when a buddy walked by one time, I asked him if he wanted some. He declined, and we kidded about all the hands that had scooped some crackers from the jug. Our conversation quickly turned to the differences people have concerning their eating and sanitation. He and I remembered growing up rather spartan, where food might get left out on the counter for a while, and eating or drinking after your sibling was no big deal. We joked about the security people get today from seeing an ” A ” sanitation grade in a restaurant, trusting it to mean that workers’ hands are always clean and food and utensils are always handled properly. It actually just seems to take their mind off of wondering what really goes on back in the kitchen. Well, the Pharisees had a problem with the ceremonial sanitation of the disciples. Apparently they weren’t washing their hands according to the established traditions of the elders. And for some reason they thought that Jesus, who touched lepers and was covered in oil by prostitutes, needed to address the situation.

Application

But instead, Jesus makes it very clear that washing our hands a certain way, or handling food a certain way, has no effect on the purity of our hearts, which is God’s obsession. His words tell us that the clothes a person puts on don’t bring them any closer or push them any further from God. They remind us that food passes through the body, clothing styles come and go, and jewelry and such are just temporary outer adornments. Our focus can’t be on them, and our goal can’t be just to change them in others.

The heart is what God is after, not the shell that houses it. So, are you still too concerned about the ceremony and the appearance? Do you focus on that to keep from digging a little deeper? Do you dismiss others based on what you can see, knowing God sees our wicked hearts and loves us unconditionally? You are defiled by what comes from your heart, but you are redeemed by what He does to it. So focus on that.

Charge

As we seek Him today, look beyond what your eyes can see and check out what your heart is focusing on. Let God know that you want more than washed hands and the proper outfit.


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Rich Holt / Originally Published on : BCWorldview.org

Also published on : Medium.com.

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