“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
In today’s world, people are very concerned about what they eat. We worry about carcinogens, GMOs, preservatives, synthetic trans fats, artificial sweeteners, MSG, gluten and other ingredients to which we could be allergic. The list goes on and on. Just as what you eat can have a tremendous effect on your quality of life, what you are ingesting spiritually is a huge factor in your eternal wellbeing. What is more important than what goes into our stomachs is what comes out of our souls. Jesus said to Peter, “Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man” (Mt. 15:17-20).
The devil has done a good job of sprinkling spiritual toxins into the components that make up our current culture. Just as Israel was to get the leaven out of their houses in Exodus 12:15, we must get corruption out of our lives. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 commands, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Just before this, Paul asked, “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6; cf. Gal. 5:9). Even a little bit of a spiritual toxin is too much. Christians are sometimes naïve to the spiritual dangers they are exposed to on a daily basis. A little bit of lust, greed, pride, jealousy, or anger all have the potential to grow. The devil throws fiery darts of all of these trying to get any of them to catch and grow out of control (Eph. 6:16). As Christians who have escaped the harmful pollutants of the world, we must be on guard that we do not turn back to them (2 Pet. 2:20). We must keep our pure diet of God’s word (1 Pet. 2:2).
While any diet is not convenient, it is worth it. Jesus tells us to get serious about sin, guarding our hearts, even when it is not convenient. In Matthew 5:20-26, our Lord shows that murder is the outgrowth of anger. Jesus said anger in the heart for the wrong cause is sin. Jesus grew angry (Mk. 3:5), but it was for a just cause and he did not allow it to cause Him to sin (Eph. 4:26). Just because the Bible condemns murder it does not sanction the anger in the heart that leads to violent acts. In Matthew 5:27-30, the Lord addressed the issue of adultery. Jesus said lust in the heart is sin (Mt. 5:28). Man is made to be visually attracted to his wife (Prov. 5:15-23), and fulfilling that attraction is pure (Heb. 13:4), but lusting after another woman is sin (Job 31:1; Prov. 6:25). Just because the Bible condemns the outward act of fornication (1 Thess. 4:3), it does not sanction a man to lust in his heart (Mt. 5:28). A man must pluck out his eye and cut off his hand, not in physical mutilation, but in drastic spiritual measures, so that his soul is not lost (Mt. 5:29-30). Some members of the church will argue that the Bible condemns getting drunk (Gal. 5:21), but allows moderate social drinking. While much more could be said to refute this teaching, let the present line of argument suffice. Just because the Bible condemns drunkenness (Eph. 5:18), it does not sanction the first drink that would lead to drunkenness (Prov. 23:31). Sin starts small but grows. When the devil is on our doorstep, let’s keep the door closed rather than opening it just a crack.
Are you keeping your heart pure, or are there little ingredients that are poisoning it?