Our actions actually stem from the heart.
And Jesus knew this very well. He did not want people to only stop at cleaning up our act on the outside, but uproot sin from where it all begins.
For example, most people are careful not to murder or steal or commit adultery. But sin starts from the deep, secret place in the heart where thoughts of hatred, jealousy, envy, and lust are sown which later bear its full fruit in the action form.
It might seem insignificant since it is unseen and easy to conceal, but Jesus took the matters of the heart seriously and wanted to expose unseen sins. He even likened hatred to spiritual murder! (Matthew 5:21-22)
The inside of our heart is something that nobody can see. In Jesus’ time lived the Pharisees who were a “separated” group of about 6000 religious leaders that prided in keeping the Jewish laws and rituals. One of the Jewish laws was to wash and clean as a symbol of washing away unclean things.
But Jesus was not impressed by their outward cleanliness, and instead rebuked them. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. - Matthew 23:25-26
Jesus expected His people to have a high standard and apply God’s commandments from deep within.
How can society change if a criminal is released after “doing his time” in prison, only to commit the crime all over again? A person must be changed fundamentally from the inside in order to permanently turn from his criminal ways.
One might even succeed in deceiving others by not committing obvious sins like adultery, stealing and murder. But it is important to know and fear the fact that God knows what is inside the deep thoughts and motives of our heart.
We are all sinners and have human weaknesses that could lead us into sin. The devil is always looking for ways to ensnare you right into spiritual death. It could be exhausting to constantly fight off unpleasant thoughts and temptations on our own. And sooner or later, we might even find ourselves allowing the devil to win.
-Always stay vigilant with constant exposure to God’s Word.
-Be proactive in avoiding sin by eliminating sources of influence.
-Surround yourself with God-fearing, Bible-loving people.
-Protect your eyes. (Luke 11:34)
Seek the power of the Holy Spirit to help you gain victory over sin. Most importantly, remember that Jesus took our sins at the Cross. He already gained victory for you, because His blood has the power to wash away all of our sins, big and small.
Here is a prayer to guide you:
You know my weaknesses and my secret thoughts. Let the Holy Spirit, who is my Counselor and Helper, guard this vulnerable soul. Empower me with godly wisdom to discern my thoughts. Help me uproot sins before they fester. Let me become more aware of my sins and repent each time they are discovered. Continue to protect my heart, my thoughts, my eyes, and my tongue from sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Bible Portal Staff
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