Cover 2017-10-08

It’s The Things On The Inside That Matter

By Mike Riley

Shopping for a good watermelon is difficult because no matter how good it looks on the outside, it’s hard to tell what it’s really like on the inside. We can tap it, thump it and squeeze it, only to take it home and discover that the inside is not edible.

On one occasion when Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands before eating, the Pharisees became extremely irritated because it violated one of their man-made traditions (Mark 7:1-8). Jesus immediately challenged them by saying:

All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9).

He went so far as to call them “hypocrites” (Mark 7:6) and explained that what comes from the inside of an individual is what “defiles” him, not the other way around (Mark 7:14-23).

If we’re not careful, we can become so absorbed with looking good on the outside, that we forget what really counts. In fact, when we get to the place where we think “we’ve arrived,” we may become proud of ourselves and judgmental toward others. Harboring bitterness, clinging to critical attitudes, and thinking too highly of ourselves are the kind of defiling things that make us guilty of Jesus’ charge of being a “hypocrite.”

The point is this: It’s the things on the inside of our heart — our thoughts and attitudes that really matter to the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5; John 4:23-24).

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