Righteousness – inner or outer truth

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can make him `unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him `unclean.’ ”

After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him `unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

He went on: “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.’ ”
(Mark 7:14-23 (NIV))

This was unheard of in Jesus’ time. The Jews did not want to defile their bodies by what they touched or put into them, yet Jesus taught that it did not matter. If someone’s heart was impure, evil would come from them no matter what they put into their bodies. He also taught that it was possible for someone to be righteous and put “impure” things into their bodies and it would not effect what was in the heart.

The measure of righteousness is not what goes in, but what comes out. If you seek after God’s Will, then it is not possible for evil to result. The Holy Spirit is at work in your life and it is not possible for God and evil to co-exist within you. It is true that you will still sin in your life, but this sin is forgiven for you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is removed as far as the east is from the west.

Righteousness does not come from outward actions but from inward desire. Do you look inward when you do something or are your actions determined by outward influences?

Copyright 1998 – 2010 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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