Thursday, July 28, 2011

Be Cleansed!


Mark 7:14-15
Again, Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside you can defile you by going into you. Rather, it is what comes out of you that defiles you."

Jesus is making clear, once again, the difference between man-imposed restrictions and God's rules. The Pharisees have accused the disciples of eating with unclean hands and the Lord defends their actions. He goes on to declare all foods permissible for consumption as they enter the stomach and pass through the digestive system. It is, rather, the sins of the human heart that defile us, that render us "unclean" and separate us from the love of God.

The list of sins articulated by Jesus in Mark 7:21-22 is formidable. I would venture to say that all of you reading this are guilty of one or more of them at some point in your life. I am no exception. The crucial matter for us as Christians is to recognize the sin, repent, ask forgiveness from God for our shortcomings, and shine the light of hope and redemption to others. Too often, we fail to admit our sins, choosing instead to wear that plastic smile to church every Sunday, striving to convince others of our better-than-thou piety, afraid to allow anyone to see our broken and bleeding hearts. How can we possibly bring others to the saving grace of Christ if we are unwilling to go there ourselves? We can't; our hypocrisy about our own failures defeats us in the end.

Are you donning that artificial smile every Sunday? Are you, like the Pharisees, judging others before addressing your own issues? Take a good, long look in the mirror. See that face? Know that it and you are so loved by God! He is prepared to forgive every sin, every error in your ways, but you have to take the first step. Confess and be cleansed!

"Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain?
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken,
Maybe, then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade." ~ Casting Crowns

Readings
Psalms (70), 71 or 74
2 Samuel 4:1-12
Acts 16:25-40
Mark 7:1-23

3 comments:

  1. Powerful message, Martha. Impartial self-observation is an important spiritual tool for growth & happiness. I especially enjoyed your closing "song" ;-)

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  2. Very important message. A frequent prayer for me is "God, may the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you." Our inner thoughts can have an impact on our outer expressions and words...effecting whether we build someone up or help tear them down. May we all have a genuine faith, a living relationship with God, so that our smiles can be genuine, our joy truly real. God has humbled me in some painful ways in the past, but I think it has been a blessing because it has swept away any notion I've ever had of being in the position of judging another. We are all just a step away from the darkest sin we could ever imagine, and it's God's grace and guidance, that helps prevent us from falling in the pit. We are just as susceptible as others, may we always cling to our Father and repent when we need to, to grow and to help spread His light and love to others...a genuine love that comes from the Spirit shining through us, not an artificial light.
    Great post! Sorry..I tend to write a lot on comments!

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  3. Thank you, Linda and Jessica, for your kind and meaningful words! They and you are much appreciated! :)

    ReplyDelete

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