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Inside Out

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

October 10, 2017

"Out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, . . . blasphemy, pride, foolishness." Mark 7:21-22

Shopping for a melon is a tough assignment. No matter how good it looks, it’s hard to tell! So I tap it, thump it, and, if no one is looking, squeeze it—and then take it home, only to discover that it’s bad on the inside.

When the Pharisees were irritated that Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands before eating—a violation of one of their traditions—Jesus immediately challenged them. “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9). He even called them “hypocrites” and explained that what comes from the inside of a person is what “defiles” him, not the other way around.

If we’re not careful, we can become absorbed with looking good on the outside and forget what really counts. In fact, when we get to the place where we are keeping all the “right” rules, we may become proud of ourselves and judgmental toward others. But harboring bitterness, clinging to critical attitudes, and thinking too highly of ourselves are the kind of defiling stuff that make us guilty of Jesus’ charge of “hypocrite.”

So don’t miss the point. Remember, it’s the things on the inside—your heart, your thoughts, your attitudes—that really matter.

What matters to Jesus is what’s on the inside.