Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What Defiles Us?

          Nearly every day, we can pick up a newspaper and read about another food that has been found to be detrimental to our health.  Sometimes it seems so discouraging,  and often I wonder what will be the next demon in my cabinet.  Just the other day, I read an article about olive oil not being as healthy for us as canola oil.  Yet, for years, we have all heard the praises of this oil as being a heart healthy addition to our diet.
     All this consideration of food and diet can be mind boggling, and some folks seem obsessed with
eating just the right thing in order to maintain their health and peace of mind.  However, our existence is made up of more than issues like what we eat.
     In Mark 7:18b-23 (NAS), Jesus, who was speaking to His disciples, instructs them:  "Do you not see that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him; because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?  (Thus He declared all food clean) And He was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.'"
     This scripture points to the central issue we all must face.  What we harbor in our hearts is really what defiles us not what we eat on a daily basis.  Yes, we do need to watch out for our health.  Learning good nutrition habits and watching our diet can help to prolong our physical health.  But Jesus was concerned about our heart health....our spiritual heart health.
     Often, whether we want to admit it or not, we have thoughts which we know are not pleasing to the Lord; yet, we allow them to remain and eat away at our spiritual health.  No one else sees these secret sins but God does.  The only time our family or friends become aware of things which we hold in our thoughts or hearts is when we choose to act on them in direct disobedience to God.  This is what defiles us and hurts our relationship with others and with the Lord.  Our only recourse in
redeeming our spiritual health is to quickly confess our sins to God and repent (I John 1:9).  By doing this, we are instantly restored to right standing with our Father in heaven.
     Watching our diet and being good stewards of the physical                                                                                   bodies which He has given to us is indeed important, but Jesus wants us to pay attention to the thoughts which we allow into our hearts.  He wants us to watch the words and actions that flow forth out of our lives.  Do these match with the life of one committed to Jesus Christ?  If they do not, it should be a "red flag" to us that we need to spend some time on our knees before the Father in serious prayer.  May our inner person of the heart reflect God's holiness in all that we do for this is the key issue to the abundant life in Christ.  Selah!

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