Today's verses are Mark 7:20-22: "And he said, 'What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'" Jesus concludes his teaching with his disciples about whether a person is defiled from what comes from the outside or what is already inside. Again, he is refuting the Pharisees' teaching that ceremonial cleansing before someone eats is imperative to change the heart.
In these verses, Jesus mentions specific sinful thoughts, actions and characteristics of a defiled, sinful heart. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Although the list Jesus gives of what comes out of the human heart is not all inclusive, if these sinful thoughts, actions and characteristics were crucified, killed, brought under the control of the Holy Spirit, think how many lives would be different. Think how our world would be different!
Look again at the list Jesus gives us regarding what is in the human heart: all our evil wicked thoughts...sexual immorality (any sex outside God's original intent for sex: one man, one woman, in a committed heterosexual, monogamous relationship)...theft (any stealing)...murder (the taking of another person's life)...adultery (specifically any sex outside of marriage, including pornography)...coveting (desiring what our neighbor has)...wickedness (general twisted, evil behavior done for self)...deceit (lying, pretending to be someone we're not, behind the scenes planning to get something we want)...sensuality (this would especially and specifically address pornography)...envy (being jealous of what others have)...slander (gossip behind someone's back)...pride (the exaltation of self above God, thinking I'm the center of the universe)...foolishness (silly, stupid behavior, often done without thinking).
Again, think what a different place the world would be if all these evil things were conquered. Jesus said that they all, every single one, comes from within, from the human heart. They fill the human heart. They are what defiles a person, not any food or drink coming from the outside.
Therefore, if you want to change your behavior, change your heart! That's what Jesus came to do. He came to give us new hearts. He came to change us from the inside out. He came to kill, crucify forever our old selfish, hard, prideful hearts and replace them with new, pliable, giving, serving, caring, loving hearts.
What is your heart condition today? Is your heart consumed with any one or all of the evil characteristics Jesus outlined? Or are they filled with his love, desiring to give away the new life he has given to you?
May we all cry out like King David did, realizing the source of his adultery with Bathsheba in Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
The heart is the source of all our problems. May we desire new, clean, pure hearts today...and forever.