The legalists of Jesus’ day appeared godly on the outside but were actually ungodly on the inside. Jesus taught the importance of addressing one’s heart which is the root cause for all of our actions.
14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
- Jesus taught that the most dangerous evil is not outside of us but inside of us.
- Attempting to blame external influences will never remedy the issues of your heart.
- Evil Thoughts – When the heart’s desire begins to establish a plan
- Sexual Immorality – Any sexual desire that rebels against God’s standard
- Theft – The desire to take what you want regardless of the consequences
- Murder – The desire to play God by deciding who deserves the right to live
- Adultery – The unashamed desire to violate the marriage covenant
- Coveting – The desire to take something that belongs to another
- Wickedness – The desire to cause harm to another
- Deceit – The desire to deceive another for your own benefit
- Sensuality – The desire to act upon every passion without restraint
- Envy – The desire that is unwilling to be satisfied with what you have
- Slander – The desire to speak of another in any manner that makes you feel good
- Pride – The arrogant belief that your desires are justified
- Foolishness – The senseless desire to ignore God’s wisdom
You can’t successfully change a behavior until God has changed your heart.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.