Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is It That Defiles Us?

Matthew 15:11

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

IMG_0435-0In a day and age when most everyone is trying to promote physical fitness (and indeed Americans need to consider taking better care of their bodies) – today’s passage reminds us that it is not what you put in your body that defiles it – but rather what comes out of the mouth.

Of course we can eat too much and too much of the wrong things – but in the day of Christ – they had debates over what foods were acceptable and what foods were unholy. Some foods – set aside for idols – were thought to defile the person if he or she ate them.

Defile is defined – to desecrate or profane (something sacred). Our Lord says – What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.

We can certainly destroy the temple – the body – by what we put into it – health wise – but it is the words we say and the thoughts we have – that defile us before God. Someone once said – Christianity boils down to attitude – the condition and position of one’s heart.

Let’s look at today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 15:1–20 – 1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’  5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” 10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. 17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

It is from the inside – from our hearts – that we speak words that defile us. Jesus said this to some church leaders – Matthew 23:26 – Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. He also said – Matthew 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Think before you speak – and before you post on social media. Our heart is revealed by what we say and what we post!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


June 6, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , ,

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