When someone speaks from their heart, we know it without being told. We recognize their intense focus, that imperceptible shift in tone, and their vulnerable disclosure. When the heart speaks, it names what is most real within a person.
So, we may not let it speak much. We guard our hearts, wear masks, and pretend to be someone else. We excel in pretense and put on a “show” or a “face.” We “grin and bear it,” and “fake it till we make it.” All the clichés that we keep in our repertoire so others won’t see who we truly are reveal how hard real disclosure is. Our words often convey the condition of our spiritual life.
The conversation around Jesus in today’s passage centers on what it means to be clean before God. The religious experts focus on outward appearances. Who looks right? What rituals do we require to demonstrate our goodness? Jesus does not submit to their bad theology. He directs their attention to the inner life instead. What does it mean to be clean on the inside?
Jesus names many things that will clot our spiritual arteries: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly (vv. 21-22). Something for everyone. While we may achieve physical cleanliness through our own efforts, Jesus knows that we need God’s help to clean our heart, mind, and soul.
What threatens the spiritual health of your heart today? How could God help you with this concern?
God, remind me that your Spirit is what makes me clean so that I will forever seek you. Amen.