Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, â€œListen 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’.â€ Mark 7:14-16 (NIV)
Jesus said that EVERYONE was to listen to what He had to say here. Those pesky Pharisees and Scribes were again trying to weigh people down with their rules and regulations that they thought created holiness in people. So Jesus wanted to make sure that THEY know that what He was about to say was for them, too! Today Jesus would have pointed to all of us church leaders who might be trying to impose OUR way of holiness on people instead of GOD’S way. Ouch. So I am going to listen to what Jesus has to say here.
What comes out of me? I don’t know what your workplace might be like but mine is a rather â€“ profane â€“ place. Profanity spills out of customer mouths like some disgusting litany. I do not tolerate that. I usually get my point across with a pointed stare, a raised eyebrow, and an â€œExcuse me????â€ â€œOh…Oh…I’m sorry Ms. Jody!â€ That is an easy example of what Jesus was talking about. I used to speak such trash when I was in college. I hung around people who spoke like that and so I said what I heard. Thought it was cool or some such nonsense!
There are more hidden, less obvious unclean streams that can pour out of me. One that immediately comes to mind that I consciously battle every day is criticism. It is so easy to be critical of others. It is too easy to communicate my criticism with words, actions, a look, even by ignoring I speak loudly. Criticism is the manifestation of judging others. It is ignoring the plank in my own eye in order to pick at the speck in my neighbor’s eye! (Matthew 7) It is forgetting that Jesus is my standard. I am not the standard for others! Another is the hidden sins of my heart. I share so much about priorities but every day is a choice of listening to God’s plan for the day instead of my own. It is confirming my schedule (whether it is for a day or my life in general) by setting it up to the top three priorities that do not change: 1) God 2) my service/ministry 3) family. How important is my time with God every day as He examines my heart that only He truly knows!
Jesus so wants to teach me how to live the life of His disciple with joy and freedom! He wants me to listen to Him and see the wisdom of His words. It is such an opportunity to grow! Again, today, I am struck by how there is so much in three verses of Scripture. It is so important that when I read Scripture that I don’t rush over the words but think about them and savor their goodness!
I obey your word instead of following a way that leads to trouble.
You have been my teacher, and I won’t reject your instructions.
Your teachings are sweeter than honey.
They give me understanding and make me hate all lies.
Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk. Psalm 119:101-105 (CEV)