If you maintain a burdensome schedule each week, finding time to take an honest assessment of your life isn’t easy to do. Most busy people press on. ignoring any signs, symptoms or traces of trouble. When a state of emergency was issued for Delaware during the fourth snow storm in March, I was forced to slow down, unable to go to work. After reading the passage below, an overwhelming sense of guilt struck my soul, exposing a defiled heart.
After He called the people to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen [carefully] to Me, all of you, [hear] and understand [what I am saying]: there is nothing outside a man [such as food] which by going into him can defile him [morally or spiritually]; but the things which come out of [the heart of] a man are what defile and dishonor him. 16 [If anyone has ears to hear, let him he}” Mark 7:15-16.
As a former high school teacher, I gave my students some sort of assessment every 3 weeks. Homework, papers, quizzes and exams were given during each unit to reveal the degree of comprehension. Unfortunately, after graduating from high school or college, adults rarely think about assessing their faith like educators. This lack of reflection often hides glaring issues. As for me, a lack of candor has brought to light a defiled heart.
For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush. 45 The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart, Luke 6:43-45.
According to Jesus, your choice of language provides immediate feedback to what’s in your heart. If you find yourself using coarse joking, put downs or sarcasm, this serves as a warning of a heart in grave condition. In order to take a positive step forward, confession is the best place to start, James 5:16. If your language does not improve, finding an accountability partner can help turn your life around. While transformation takes time, meditating on Bible verses, prayer and fasting are all honorable steps toward healing a defiled heart.
by Jay Mankus