I am not too concerned about diet, health and exercise. I should be for my own good, but it doesn’t happen as much as everyone tells me it should be a priority. I find that I’m not politically correct at times and so I try to learn from the experts.
The model spiritual person today has lots of rules about right and wrong. You need to eat what God wants you to eat, shop where God wants you to shop, be socially aware and environmentally sensitive. You need to be tolerant, unassuming and read the right books and share the popular opinions on theology.
What people might not tell you is that you can be healthy, politically correct, well disciplined and still be an insensitive pervert. You can buy into all kinds of ethical thought and still treat your family like crap. You can be socially active in just causes and still lack humility and grace. Gaining leadership in the church and being influential in the community can be a great place to hide the true condition of your heart.
Matthew Henry said,
External privileges, if they are not duly improved, commonly swell men up the more with pride and malignity. Jerusalem, which should have been a pure spring, was now become a poisoned sink. How is the faithful city become a harlot![i]
Anyone can honour God with their lips and still have a cold, dead heart at a great distance. I do not want to be ‘just talk’ for that is my greatest temptation.
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
All of these words that come out of our mouth… we have a religion of lip. We say all kinds of things everyday and worship fervently using our best words. So can someone tell me why we’re not feeling more defiled by our evil thoughts?
Murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander… Oh, that…
Seneca, complaining of most people’s being led by common opinion and practice said, ‘Things are taken upon trust, and never examined’, and he concludes, ‘Hence crowds fall upon crowds, in vast confusion.’[ii]
In the age of ten thousand instructors, have we disconnected from the one true Father? It is vital that we grow in the love of God.
We have said the right things. Can we let our heart draw close to the Lord? Can we let the love of God change us on the inside?
Like an uprooted plant, the false teachings and half-truths eventually die in God’s Garden. The Master Gardener watches over his wild garden and tends only that which He wants to grow. Weeds will be uprooted in time.
Again, quoting Matthew Henry:
Not only the corrupt opinions and superstitious practices of the Pharisees, but their sect, and way, and constitution, were plants not of God’s planting. The rules of their profession were no institutions of his, but owed their origin to pride and formality. The people of the Jews were planted a noble vine; but now that they are become the degenerate plant of a strange vine, God disowned them, as not of his planting…
What things are unscriptural, will wither and die of themselves, or be justly exploded by the churches; however in the great day these tares that offend will be bundled for the fire. What is become of the Pharisees and their traditions? They are long since abandoned; but the gospel of truth is great, and will remain. It cannot be rooted up.[iii]
May God help us to have an open heart that can hear Him speak. May we stop listening to our own lip service and engage the heart in passionate surrender to God’s love. Speak Lord, your servants want to listen.