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In The Bible Today; Matthew 15
Understanding The Bible
The Bible is a timeless text of perennial wisdom. It tells us not only of God and mankind, but it also guides us on our path as spiritual beings in human bodies.
Though the Bible sometimes seems inapproachable and complex, these studies are designed to make the Bible accessible to everyone and applicable to everyday life.
This study uses the SOAP technique: Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. As you read through and study the bible, and a verse sticks out to you, write it down. Then write down your personal observations regarding the scripture, along with historical notations and any other pertinent information. After you make a thorough observation of the scripture, meditate on how you might apply the lesson learned to your own life. How can you use this particular verse to improve your life or make your spiritual journey better? Finally, write out a prayer to God, as you think about the scripture.
This technique will help you find more meaning from your study of scripture, and will help deepen your walk along a spiritual path.
Scripture: Matthew 15:17-20; "17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man." King James Version
Scripture: Matthew 15: 17-20; "17 Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” New International Version
Scripture: Matthew 15: 17-20; "17 Do you not understand that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18 But whatever [word] comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what defiles and dishonors the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts and plans, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, slanders (verbal abuse, irreverent speech, blaspheming). 20 These are the things which defile and dishonor the man; but eating with [ceremonially] unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Amplified Bible
Observation: In these verses, Jesus clearly outlines what factors make a man unclean. What you eat, how you eat, what you wear; these things have no eternal value. The condition of your heart impacts who you are, and how you relate to the world.
The pharisees of Jesus' time, and religious leaders of today often get blinded by the perception of form. As they perceive the world, most are unclean, unrighteous, unwashed. They perceive unholiness externally, with no knowledge of the heart. They are so blinded, in fact, they make laws, rules and regulations to govern the outward appearance. The condition of the heart goes largely unnoticed as they insist on strict adherence to rules and regulations.
God is concerned with your heart. All the things of the world and of the body are outward. They do not matter. Your heart matters to God. God does not care what you eat. He does not care what you wear, how you do your hair, or what car you drive.
God cares about the intentions of your heart. What is your intention? Do you intend to deceive with your words and actions? Are you trying to heal a hurting world? The motives that drive your words and deeds are more important to God than what you are wearing.
In the judgement of the ego, what matters is appearance. How you dress. How you pray. How you worship. We become so entangled in the appearance of things, we forget the important thing. Our heart. People get so caught up in their own outward appearance, and in the appearance of everyone around them that they lose sight of the heart, which has eternal value.
What is more important than how you treat others? What matters more than sharing God's love, regardless of how someone appears on the outside? What could be more significant than pure intentions, unmotivated by greed, pride or anger
Recently, working in the local coffee shop, I met a woman and her mother. The woman shared that her mother is a minister at a local church. These two women, over the course of the next few months, proved to be the rudest, most condescending people I have met in a very long time. It doesn't matter that their hair is perfectly coiffed, their make-up expertly applied, and their clothing impeccable.
Their hearts were unkind. I would never go to any church where that mean spirited woman acts as a ministered. Her attitude spoke volumes about the condition of her heart. And it wasn't good.
God doesn't care what we look like, He cares about who we are, and how we spread his message. Being unkind and cruel is no way to share God in your community. The true message of God is love, kindness and forgiveness.
Let us love, just as he loves us
Application: What is the condition of your heart? When your heart is clean, you express love, forgiveness, and the healing energy of God. When your heart is impure, you are motivated by greed, lust, anger, fear and self-interest. Look deep inside yourself and honestly assess what motivates your behavior.
How the outward expression of the inner heart manifests in your life is different for each person. If you work in an office, handle people with kindness and integrity. BE honorable and trustworthy. Don't think only of your own interests, but instead look to further the good for others in your space, as well as making the company a better, more profitable place to work.
Are you staying at home with kids? Be gentle and loving. The lessons in love and forgiveness that you teach your children will shape and mold how they view the world. You are in a unique position to transform their lives through your own life. Refrain from harsh and angry words, spoken thoughtlessly. Instead, give careful consideration to your words and your behavior. Teach your children well, and in the end, they will value the gift of love you have given them.
For every walk, there is a way to express love and forgiveness. Don't get weighed down by the external appearance of those around you. People are not unclean, unholy, unrighteous based on their form, and neither are you. It is a matter of the heart. Only God knows the true intentions of each man's heart, and therefore only God should sit in judgement of anyone. As for each one of us, our job here is to share love. Share kindness. Share forgiveness. As we give to others, so shall it be given to each of us.
The best thing we can do for ourselves, and those people God places around us is to share his love. Don't judge based on appearance, status, condition. As you go through your day, be aware of how you perceive others and how you treat them. What makes you uncomfortable, and why? Look at how you approach people and situations, and try to remember as you go through the day, to be kind. Each gesture and expression of kindness will send a ripple effect through the Universe.
Prayer: Father, today help me to remember that I am one among your many children. You and you alone know the condition of my heart. Help me not judge based on appearances, but give me grace to be compassionate and kind to those around me today.
When I am fearful, comfort me Lord and remind me that I am not alone. When I am unsure, give me the confidence to walk in your grace and love. As I approach each person today, help me remember that you have brought me to this time and place for a purpose. Let me seek the diving appointment in every chance encounter.