Peter said, “I don’t get it. Put it in plain language.”
Jesus replied, “You too? Are you being willfully stupid?
Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated?
But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart.
It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing.
That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”
Jesus was teaching. The disciples were having a hard time understanding. Peter wanted to understand. So he asked Jesus to explain.
When I spend time with God, Jesus teaches me. Like the disciples, I am frequently thick-headed. Sometimes my heart is open and, like Peter, I ask for explanation and meaning. In those moments of openness I am blessed by the Holy Spirit who patiently helps me grasp truth.
Jesus wanted them to understand that walking with God was more than just observing traditional rules governing externals. It was much deeper. Walking with God was a matter of the heart.
God wants me to understand that, too. Jesus teaches me. The Holy Spirit explains. What I am deep within my heart controls what comes out in my life. What I say begins deep within my heart. How I respond to others begins deep within my heart. My words, thoughts, and actions all begin deep within.
Now I see clearly, I understand what Jesus is teaching. Now it’s time to pray.
Father in Heaven,
Thank You for being truth.
Thank You for sending Your Son to teach.
Thank You for gifting me with Your indwelling Spirit.
Thank You for creating me with a heart.
Forgive me when I substitute rules for heart-relationship.
Forgive me when my “spirituality” is only skin deep.
Don’t let me settle for empty tradition.
Don’t let me be fooled by the seeming wisdom of external rules.
Search my heart.
Clean out my heart.
I offer my heart to You as a throne.
Be enthroned in me.
Rule my heart, God.
May my thoughts, words, and actions flow from Your presence in my heart.
In Jesus’ name,