it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.
Our behavior is a product of our character.
In today’s verse, Jesus explains this to Pharisees. But what’s insane about this is that they were the absolute measure of holiness in Judaism!
Pharisees were incredibly disciplined. Unbelievably dedicated. And honestly, would put many of our lives to shame…
…on the outside, at least.
Jesus reveals something more profound about character — and it should transform the way you see it.
No matter how well you behave, you can’t cheat character. Your life will be a product of who you truly are.
So, we can chip away at modifying our behavior.
We can work super hard at cultivating a daily devotional habit, reading our Bible through every year…
We can even give large portions of our income…
^^^ Don’t get me wrong, these are all incredible—and expected—activities in a believer’s life. Obedience, holiness, and spiritual disciplines must happen for us to be growing in the image of Jesus.
Rather than starting with behavior, though, Jesus starts with the heart condition. He reveals the underlying motivations, and therefore the real state of their character.
In fact, he would go on to tell them that their actions are actually incongruent with their hearts. They look pristine on the outside, but they’re rotting with death on the inside.
One of my best friends once challenged me this way:Never let your public anointing exceed your private devotion. Click To Tweet
I believe this is key to transforming the way we see character.
It is from our character that true holiness, love, and Christian action flows. As James said, faith without works is dead. And Jesus shows us that works without faith is pointless.
What is the state of your heart? Have you prioritized character, or tried to cheat it with good-looking actions?