CLEAN FROM WITHIN
In the message “Rend Our Heart” we saw how God commands us to recognize our sin and tear our heart in sorrowful repentance as we cry out for His gracious and abundant forgiveness. The instant we first place our complete trust in Jesus we are born of the Spirit and released from the bondage of our sinful nature. Sin may still war within us and sometimes cause us to stumble, but it no longer has dominion and control over our lives – we have been set free!
Jesus often taught of this radical transformation in terms of our need for a clean heart.
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”
Our heart pumps life into all the other parts of our body. If our heart is made clean through the forgiveness of Jesus, the rest of our life will also become clean as His life flows through us; “First clean the inside…and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:26). But if our heart remains soiled by an unrepentant sinful nature, no amount of outside scrubbing and polishing will ever make us clean.
In the above passage, Jesus presented a list of “evils” for our self evaluation, as an outward test of inward cleanliness. Our lives may be free from the obvious stealing, murder, and adultery, but the rest of the list requires us to look a little deeper. Folly is the lack of good sense. Arrogance is an overbearing confidence. Slander is making false statements against someone. Envy is discontent due to another’s good fortune. Lewdness is indecent language or action. Deceit means to conceal the truth. Malice means to cruelly tease, and greed is excessive desire.
A transformed believer in Jesus Christ, one who is “circumcised of the heart” (Romans 2:29), should never be characterize by this type of behavior. As the Spirit of Jesus makes us into a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17) and begins to flow through our life, these old sins ought to slow to a trickle and eventually pass away. Though sin will never completely disappear, it no longer should define who we are.
Is the cleansing power of Jesus flowing into all areas of our life? Or are there still areas we claim as our own? If we desire to offer our lives as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1), then we must allow our sacrifice to be completely cleansed; we must place our heart more fully in His hands. Let’s come before our Heavenly Father and allow the transforming and absolute forgiveness of Jesus to make us clean from within.
Have a Christ-centered day!