Mark 7:20-22 - And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
How does a person get to a place where increasing levels of wrong-ness live in their hearts like this?
Paul explains how part of it works:
Romans 1:28-32 - since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
What a list. It’s a heart of darkness. And we see too much of our behavior in that list - maybe not all of it but parts of it to varying degrees.
And what’s the root cause?
they did not see fit to acknowledge God
We walk wherever we please, excluding God from much. And our lives pay the price:
Isaiah 53:6a - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
And so, God sends Jesus to call us sheep back to him:
Isaiah 53:6b,12b - and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all… he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
The bar is not so high. It’s simple acknowledgment of God. Even to say, from our soul, “God, I don’t understand much of this. But I need you.”
May we come to the Maker with an open heart, confessing our bad behavior and asking for insight into the ancient paths:
Psalm 139:24-25 - Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
He wants us to be light and love in this world! May we submit to his inspection and correction to be who we were made to be!