Journal Matt 15 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And (Jesus) called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of the mouth—this defiles a person.’
Then the disciples came and said to him “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
(Jesus) answered, “Every plant that my heavenly has not planted will be rooted up….Let them alone, they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”
But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But whatever comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart and this is what defiles a person…But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone…” Matt 15:10-19
Observation: This section touches on something Jesus held pretty close to his heart: logical Biblical understanding. For example, he says, “What is more important to God’s counsel: What and how you eat or what you say? Which one has implications for eternity?”
Application: Implications for eternity—what a weighty phrase. There can be two responses to that: take it seriously or not. After all, eternity is what God is about, I am temporal, day by day, flawed and helpless. Wah, wah, wah.
I have to fight both sides of this: Not being a Pharisee about stuff like biblical conduct and not being so carefree as to abuse Grace.
Talk about having to get my head on straight, biblically speaking! It is always a tough row to hoe . So what do I do about it? Take my time in thinking about the issue presented, talk to the face in the mirror about the Gospel, ask questions of godly men—at least that is what I do.
The Pharisees involved here were ate up with conducting rituals: Wash my hands before eating, wash my feet before entering a house, don’t eat certain things, put my right sock on before my left…hah, just wanted to see if you were reading…basically thinking it is what I do ritually that makes me in right standing before God.
Jesus is saying, “You guys have this reversed. It is not what comes from Outside in (like food) that constitutes defilement. Stuff like that goes into one end (the mouth) and comes out the other. Note that this has ZERO to do with any kind of change of heart.
But what is in the heart comes out of the mouth. If the heart is defiled the mouth will speak it out and vice versa.” Ok, Jesus didn’t quite say it like that but there’s the picture.
James said: “No one can tame the tongue. It is a roaring fire… Out of the mouth comes sweet and salt water…” See the dilemma? I am always toast, can’t win.
But not entirely true.
Justification is all of God’s prerogative and doing: by faith I put my hope in the Blood. The process of Sanctification is the ridding myself of pollution in full cooperation, acknowledgement, and strength of the Holy Spirit.
Do I want to see my tongue tamed? You bet!! How? By the day by day focus on surrendering to and pursuing the Holy Spirit to walk worth of the Gospel.
Prayer: Father, sometimes Sanctification is like doing the hokey pokey: One step forward, one or two steps back. Repent, repeat, repent, etc. How do I proceed? Not by fleshly self-control for that is only measured by the weakness of my flesh—I can only get so far.
It is found in the self-control of processing acknowledgement of specific sin and that the first and most heinous committing of sin is against You, primarily You and secondarily others, confession of same, repenting, accepting forgiveness, getting up and trying again—prepared to go through this same procedure in the next moment or two.
Father, I so need your power to continue. Please keep my head on straight and firmly looking for your Kingdom. AMEN