(week 40/13)

Mark 7:18-23 NIV:  “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? (19) For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)  (20) He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ (21) For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, (22) greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. (23) All these evils come from inside and make a man “unclean.'”

Here, the Lord Jesus teaches us that sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, envy, slander, arrogance are spiritual forces that come out of the sinful nature of the human heart.

The scripture through Paul calls these same things the lusts of the flesh:

Galatians 5:19-21 NIV: the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit through Paul shows that these lusts of the flesh and the mind originate from Satan: the prince of the power of the air, through the air and then are incident on the human wills, minds, emotions and bodies causing men to do evil as it were by ‘remote control’.

Ephesians 2:2-3 MKJV: in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience;  (3) among whom we also had our way of life in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Now, since these lusts of the flesh are SPIRITUAL forces and have a spiritual origin they cannot be overcome by PHYSICAL religious acts or ceremonies: such as washing your hands and feet or wearing a certain type of dress or attending some religious ceremony or feast and such like.

This was what the Lord Jesus was teaching about in Mk. 7:1-23.

Sadly, this lesson has not yet been learnt in the church even up till now: men still think that some type of physical religious act, ritual or dress code makes them holy and approved of God!

How then do we overcome these lusts of the flesh? Or put in other words, how do we clean our hearts from within so that what is coming out of hearts will be love, joy, peace, righteousness and such like rather than the lusts of the flesh?

Matthew 23:25-26 KJV: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  (26) Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter that the outside of them may be clean also.

We clean our hearts and release the forces of the Holy Spirit or the fruit of the Spirit by the blood (Heb. 13:20-21; 1 Jn. 1:7-10), the Word (1 Jn. 2:5) and the power of the Spirit (1 Jn. 4:4,12-13).

We are to do this with ALL DILIGENCE according to

Proverbs 4:20-27 KJV: My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  (21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  (22) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.  (23) Keep thy heart with ALL DILIGENCE; for out of it are the issues of life.  (24) Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.  (25) Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.  (26) Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  (27) Turn not to the right hand or to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Here, the Holy Spirit through Solomon tells us to KEEP OUR HEARTS WITH ALL DILIGENCE by our thoughts, words and actions by:

1. Attending to my words: listening regularly (weekly) to anointed teaching and preaching.

2. Inclining thine ear unto my sayings: personal daily balanced bible reading and study.

3. Letting them not depart from our eyes (minds (Eph. 1:18)): meditating on the Word day and night (Josh. 1:8).

As we practice all of the above, we will keep God’s Word in the midst of our hearts and God through His Word in our hearts will give life to us and health to all our flesh.

In this way, we will control our thoughts and words, by filling our hearts with God’s life and Word; and then we release the power of the Holy Spirit by speaking God’s Word (Dt. 30:14) and praying in the Spirit: with tongues and travail in all kinds of prayer (Eph. 6:18, Gal. 4:19, Rom. 8:26, Heb. 5:7-9).

We are to practice this with ALL DILIGENCE: with CONSISTENT, CONCENTRATED and WELL-DIRECTED EFFORT at least once every six hours (MK.13.35, 2 Sam. 6.13) and at every opportunity and in every temptation throughout the day so all our thoughts, words and actions will be empowered by the fruit of the Spirit and not the lusts of the flesh!

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 KJV: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:  (5) and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  (7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Mark 13:35 KJV: Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: