Readings for the Day
2 Samuel 3, 1 Chronicles 12, Matthew 15
Verses for the Day
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” 12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”
If you read the context of these verses and then what happens in the rest of the chapter, you will see something significant in Jesus ministry. As the Pharisees and teachers try to undermine his teaching, he calls them out and labels them as "hypocrites". They rebuke the disciples for not washing their hands before meals, while they disregard helping their parents for their so called righteousness.
Jesus points out the core of their hypocrisy when he teaches the crowd that it is not what goes into a person that defiles them but what comes out of them. And what comes out of them reveals their heart condition. And how do the Pharisees react to this? It says they are "offended". Why are they offended? Because Jesus is pointing out their true heart condition. They are not used to being called hypocrites who "honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him.
So what is Jesus saying? I think he is saying that though someone might look or seem religious on the outside, it doesn't reveal the true condition of their hearts. Of course, when our hearts are changed by God's love, we will walk in obedience, but this is always a work God does in us. We cannot fake it. This is one of the reasons people shy away from the church. They see a lot of hypocrisy similar to the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.
A true change of life only happens with a true change of heart. We can't manufacture holiness. It is God's work in us as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice in view of His mercy. Romans 12:1
How is your heart condition? If it is not very good, spend some time with God asking him to renew your heart in the power of the Holy Spirit. Far from being a hypocrite you will draw others to the church by your life and love.