Bible Reference: Matthew 15:17-20
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)
Bible Text: 17 Is it hard to understand that whatever you eat enters the stomach only to pass out into the sewer? 18 But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. Words can pollute, not food. 19 You will find living within an impure heart evil ideas, murderous thoughts, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lies, and slander. 20 That’s what pollutes a person…..
OBSERVATION: Jesus overheard arguments from certain religious leaders who were criticizing his disciples for not following every little detail about their rules regarding ceremonial hand washing and food choices that conflicted with the restrictions of their religious beliefs. However this criticizing was coming from the hearts of those who were truly burdened by multiple other issues that were a lot more serious. Sounds a lot like some of the issues believers still face today? Let’s look deeper into this.
APPLICATION: A lot of money is generated from diets, and pills and procedures that help people reduce the effects of what they put into their mouths. Many doctors, and some religions are convinced that certain foods are just not good for a human diet, and they try to work diligently with patients, and/or followers, to develop alternate diets. Some religions base this on Scripture, and therefore try to enforce the idea based on the Word of God. I find it interesting that Jesus never told the Pharisees they were untruthful, or inaccurate, but what He did tell them was that they should strive for removing the boards from their own eyes before pointing out the small specks in the lives of others. In fact, I am convinced that this Scripture was God breathed for each of us reading this today also. For just as the Pharisees saw the challenges the disciples had, we might be very apt to look at the Pharisees and denounce their faults. But I believe that what God is truly trying to say to His children today, is that we have a full time job in trying to stay focused on the issues that derive from our wicked hearts, and in seeking to correct our own issues first and foremost. I believe that only then, do we have the audacity to approach someone else and show them up for their apparent weaknesses. Friends, we are not God, and while we may find ways to try and help others to overcome challenges they fight with, we are far from having the authority to act like God and try to straighten out their sin. Jesus points out to us that we have a huge responsibility to ensure that our hearts are filled with His grace, His goodness, His perfect love for mankind, and His forgiveness. For unless we are, then we might easily tend to judge others, or even be prone to many more acts that might be even more serious than those of the Pharisees, the disciples or anyone else we feel may be failing. I love that old spiritual that includes the words: “It’s not my brother or my sister, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer”. Yes, I believe that we personally have so much need in the sight of God, that I’m not sure how or when we will ever find the time for correcting a neighbor who is in need, or may be failing in some walk of life.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole, thank You Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation so rich and free. Precious Lord, You are merciful and You looked down in love and saved even me, thank You! I am also grateful that You saved many of my friends who will read this devotional today that have also accepted You as Lord. We have such a huge job of minding our intake of worldly issues, bad attitudes and habits, that we’re not sure how we will ever get around to helping a Brother or a Sister, but Lord we need You to help us through every circumstance of life. Please draw us to Yourself daily, so that our hearts will overflow with the love and attitude of Christ. We want others to see enough of Christ in us, that they would have a strong desire to know You in a personal and meaningful way. I am convinced that You will return to take us home with You very soon, oh Lord, may we be found faithful until the end of time. AMEN!