Daily Devotional: Mark 7:20-23
O, how our own hearts betray us!
No person knew the nature of mankind better than the Son of Man. Many of the things Jesus taught were aimed at undoing the misunderstandings of human nature that his people had grown into over the centuries. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say “fallen into,” when we consider how books like the Psalms speak about the untrustworthy nature of our hearts and mankind’s capacity for wrongdoing. Jesus was direct when sweeping aside the faulty teaching that was going on in his time:
”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.’” —Mark 7:20-23
Knowing what the human heart is really like, it should come as no surprise to us when, in our world, our nation—even in our own city—we see protests against violence turn violent. The best intentions of mankind without God are tainted, doomed to fall short of the true justice we seek, because people in and of themselves cannot rise above their natures.
Those of us who follow Christ should understand this and thank God that we have been liberated from our corrupt hearts through the gospel of Jesus Christ, born again into God’s Spirit of peace, love and understanding.
But before we shake our heads in condemnation at the foolishness of the unsaved around us, let’s remember that we, too, are sinners saved by grace, and take times like these as opportunities to look into our own hearts and actions. Would God be pleased with everything he finds there? Were you just a little bit cruel in that Facebook post? Did your eye linger a little too long on that attractive young woman, in either lust or jealousy? Did you exaggerate just a little to make yourself look better in the eyes of your friends? Perhaps we would be better served spending more time looking at the subtle betrayals of our own hearts than judging the extremeties of the world around us. May God bless us with honest hearts that long for his holiness in our lives!
“Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, ‘You will not call to account?’ But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands….” —Psalm 10:13-14