“Prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” St. Therese of Lisieux
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: Mark 7:14-23
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
In this blog we are studying the Gospel of Mark through the lens of the practice of Lent. Many of us are not familiar with Lent as a part of our Christian lives. At its core, Lent is about self examination and repentance. Lent is a time to ask like David, " Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23,24)
In part of Jesus teaching here in Mark 7, He listed a series of sins that are depressingly common in our world. They included evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. Thank God for grace because I am guilty of way too many of them! ( Please don't try and figure out which of these I am guilty of.) :)
We are all familiar with all of these except maybe the last one, folly. Folly comes from a Greek word that can mean "having a reckless unconcern for spiritual matters." It can also describe those who consider sin a joke and who mock those who treat it seriously. It is often translated as foolish. The point is that sin should be dealt with and not ignored or made light of. Though we live under grace and our sins are forgiven, the scriptures still call us to confess and repent sin in our lives. In doing so, we grow and mature in our thinking and actions.
I think it is a good discipline this Lenten season to pray the words of Psalm 139. Give God a chance to speak to you and to reveal any sin He may want to bring you to your attention. Then claim the promises in 1 John 1:9 for yourself. " If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Then go forth in the joy and peace that are ours in Christ.
Lord, so often we try to hide the things You already know about us. Give us the trust and confidence in You to confess our sin, finding freedom.