Sit down today as you read this. I know I had to dig deep in my heart because I recognize that I am daily in a battle. The good news is, over the years I have put on the armor of God and am able to withstand the blows…..but, the truth is…….the blows come every day. Oh friend, we need Jesus every day in this battle we are in! Alone in the battle…..we always lose! But with Jesus at our side………….
There are a few interesting things here that I want to point out; I hope you find them interesting too. First, let’s look at today’s Scripture:
Mark 7:20-23 (TNIV)
20 He went on: “What comes out of you is what defiles you. 21 For from within, out of your hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside anddefile you.”
The first interesting thing that I want to point out is that this Greek word that translates as “defile” is “koinoo” [koy-no-o] which also means to pollute or to make to make unclean. Interestingly enough, we always look at the sin in our life and know that it defiles us……..it pollutes us and makes us unclean. I guess that’s a given. But think of this, so very often, when we sin, we defile the object of our sin…….in other words, we pollute those around us. We hurt people by OUR words and actions and often our sin permeates their being and pollutes them.
Here are a few examples: Adultery: When we engage in sexual relations outside of marriage, we have now shared that sin with the other person. Sexual immorality: When someone abuses a child, their spirit is destroyed by the act. Rape: When someone forces sex on another…..their spirit is destroyed by the act. Greed: When someone is greedy, does it not often start the race to see who can have more? Lewdness: When immoral behavior abounds, isn’t the pressure of friends to “fit in” and to act in the same way? Slander: When someone seeks to destroy another person’s reputation, is it not often reciprocated?
You get the idea……..
Let’s look a little closer at the twelve sins that Jesus names. I find it rather amazing that Jesus pegs sin squarely on the head. Would you agree that some of these things we don’t always even realize are wrong…….because they feel so “natural”? I am mainly talking about the attitudes he names. Six of these sins that Jesus names are individual actions….the other six are evil attitudes! The key that I want to point out is: 1. Someone else besides our self is hurt in each case. 2. In many cases, the other person is left “polluted”, or “koinoo”! When we sin, it often perpetuates sin. Hmmmmmmmm……..maybe Satan has a plan?
SINFUL ACTIONS: Sexual immorality–Various kinds of extramarital sexual activity Theft–Taking something that belongs to another Murder–Taking the God-given life of another person Adultery–A married person having sex with someone other than his or her spouse Greed–Relentless urge to get more for oneself Malice–Doing evil despite the good that has been received
SINFUL ATTITUDES: Deceit–To trick or mislead by lying Lewdness–Immoral behavior that is neither restrained nor concealed Envy–Desire for something possessed by another Slander–To destroy another’s good reputation. This includes gossip. Arrogance–Making claims of superior intelligence or importance Folly–Inability to discern between immorality and morality. This includes leading others into sin. A good example is knowing that someone has an addiction and encouraging them to indulge.
When Jesus says that these things come from within, out of our hearts, it is important to understand that while it is a part of the nature we were born with….it can be overcome! However, it is a day-to-day battle. But the good news is, by applying the Beatitudes (eight attitudes of our heart) from Matthew 5:3-12, by putting on the armor of God outlined in Ephesians 6:1-18 and by recognizing that true cleansing comes from the shed blood of Jesus, on our behalf that we might be able to live a new life with the strength of the Holy Spirit. When we accept Jesus, and when we follow Jesus, we are made different inside through the power of the Holy Spirit. And a PROCESS begins: the process of daily change. But we must embrace that process. Jesus wants us to seek healthy thoughts and he wants us to seek healthy motives in all that we do.
The apostle Paul said it best:
Philippians 4:8 (TNIV)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.