Matthew 15:1-20 – From the Inside Out

Read Matthew 15:1-20

You Are What You Say is a book by a Harvard doctor who has a program focused on transforming stress through the power of language. Jesus would say that what comes out of our mouths is more important than what goes in. This whole discussion came about when the Pharisees questioned the disciples’ possible defilement by not washing their hands before they ate.

You have probably been reminded a time or two in your lifetime to wash up before dinner. I can remember that was just something we did after playing outside coming into contact with who knows what germs. As a child, I never knew it was a tradition or ceremony from the Bible. Jesus clears it up. It won’t make us unclean on the inside to eat with dirty hands. Germs may be “unclean,” but they are not going to cause us to sin and spread evil in our hearts.

Jesus is always looking at our hearts. We can make ourselves look pretty good on the outside, but there is no fooling Jesus. If we are evil-hearted or selfish no amount of cleaning up on the outside will change that. The mere fact that we “try” to clean up when we’re unclean inside is a bit of a ruse. Who are we trying to fool? Certainly not the one who matters.

There are a lot of hypocrites walking around today and even sitting in our pews at church. Jesus describes them here by reminding us of the prophecy of Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as demands from God.” We know who he was referring to in our text. But could he be referring to us or someone we know, too?

The disciples were probably standing there with their mouths hanging open at Jesus’ words to the religious leaders. Jesus wasn’t afraid to speak the truth. That’s a good thing. Tough love is often brutal but necessary. Jesus wants us to understand, too, that it is what comes out of our mouths that defiles us.

Think about how you speak. Are the words you use uplifting or do they tear people down? Are your words genuine or are you covering up the truth? We may be able to pull a fast one on each other, but we can never fool God. He can see our hearts. What is inside us makes us pure or impure.

Words are powerful. They can build up or tear down. If you believe the author of the aforementioned book, he would say our words can even make us sick. Where do our words come from? Jesus would say it’s our hearts that lead us astray. When we sing the song “Change My Heart O God,” those words are exactly what we need to say each day.

“Change my heart oh God, make it ever true. Change my heart oh God, may I be like You.” Powerful. It goes on, “You are the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.” Let these words sweep over you today. If there are areas of defilement in your heart, it’s time to clean it up from the inside out.

As you enter your prayer time, listen to the song, From the Inside Out, HERE.

Let’s pray. Lord, I do pray that you will help me clean up from the inside out. Change my heart so I can be more like you. Help me overcome my issues with selfishness. I want to be focused on others and bringing your praise. Consume me, mold me, so that I can love you with everything I have. Thank you for how much you love me even though I’m a work in progress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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