Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7: What defiles a person?

Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach and then passes out into the sewer? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person; it is not eating with unwashed hands that defiles a person.”   (Matthew 15:17-20  NET)

Jesus had been criticized for not obeying a tradition about ritualistic hand washing, and than stated an important principle. He said that it is not what goes in your mouth that defiles you in the sight of God, but what comes out of our mouth and heart. Jesus is not saying that all foods are equally nutritious or healthy, but He is saying that what we eat makes no difference to God. As long as we thank God for our food and are devoted to Him, He is pleased with us. Various religions have laws about what a person should and should not eat, what to wear, what to touch, etc. but these rules are marks of false spirituality. Human beings are attracted to rituals like this, but they are nothing to God. They only cater to human pride.

What matters to God is our heart, our inner self. Do you love God and the people around you? Do you obey God even when it means going against what you want? Some of the most evil, depraved people in history have been religious—religious people even demanded the crucifixion of Jesus. The Crusades and the Inquisition were carried out by outwardly religious people, but those people’s hearts never belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ because a man or woman of God would never do those types of things to another human being. Don't be deceived by ritual and tradition. Concentrate on being a real man or woman of God.

Forget about religion, about pleasing people, and seek a close relationship with God. He wants to be your Father, and He wants you to be a child that loves, depends, and obeys. When you do, He will raise you up to live a new life just like He was raised from the dead.

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