Read Mark 7:1-20.
Devotion by: Deb Sternett
Clean Hands—Corrupt Hearts
The Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples not following the ancient traditions set by the elders. These traditions were human-made and set a standard that led to self-reliance and not God-reliance. Traditions and rituals can still get God’s people too focused on the outward appearance of looking religious instead of spending time developing a personal relationship with God and focusing on His Word.
God sent His Son into the world to lead us to Him and to save us from our sins. Jesus did not come to teach us rituals and assign us repetitive tasks, but to lead us into a relationship born of faith and deep devotion. Only when we surrender our hearts to Jesus, can we stand before God as holy and pure. A surrendered heart is a heart that is changed by the work of the Holy Spirit living in us and produces fruit that can only come from a clean heart, not from clean hands or how we look on the outside. Just showing up, looking good and checking off a to-do list will not change my heart. My heart will be changed through spending time with God, learning who He is and who I am in His eyes. I need to chase after His heart, surrender to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to change me and purify my heart.
Mark 7:14-15 reads, “Jesus called out to the crowd, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him unclean by going into him. Rather it is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean.’” First of all, WOW! Any time Jesus calls out, “Listen to me everyone and understand,” it should capture our undivided attention because the truth is getting ready to be spoken loud and clear! He is telling us to look into our hearts, to turn from what strongholds we are not letting go of and to let God change us from the inside out.
Father, please take this heart! I pray that my worship, my words, my heart, and my purpose always reflect a life that is surrendered to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Love through me, lead through me, shine through me so that others see you in me. Please change me from the inside out.