God knows the true nature and intentions of our hearts. Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees as they had observed the disciples eating food without washing or cleaning of their hands. The Jewish law required certain observances before eating for yourself and the food. Jesus called them hypocrites in Mark 7 saying they were more concerned about the outward appearances and not about the heart’s intent. His disciples questioned him after this encounter. “And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,22 coveting, wickedness deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:18-23
Jesus knew the heart of man is where the problems lie. The Pharisee’s desired to destroy Jesus out of greed, envy, jealousy and hatred. It had nothing to do with eating ‘unclean food’ with ‘unclean hands’. Jesus knows our hearts too. He knows our true motives and desires. Our hearts are bent toward self-gratification, self-glory, self-power and self-adulation. It comes from a heart that is not right with God. An old hymn calls it a sin sick heart that is in need of saving, cleaning and setting right before God. We can not deny the true nature of our hearts but we can bring our hearts to God and allow Him to transform and make our hearts clean before Him. Jesus gave us this new way to reconciliation with God. Hebrews 10:21-23 describes this power, “21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God (Jesus), 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Jesus can clean our hearts and minds. Then we can hold to our faith with assurance and hope! He can and will root out the evil intentions of our hearts with His indwelling Holy Spirit and mold and shape us to His will and His ways. First, we need to be cleaned by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross (death and resurrection) and then willing to be molded and shaped by His Holy Spirit. God’s transformation is complete and permanent. He replaces the old desires with new desires. 2 Corinthians 5:17 calls us a new creation, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Praise God for His transforming power!
Praising Jesus and His power to make me new!