14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
I remember as a child, the disgusting sense of revulsion I would feel when I peeled back the husk on an ear of corn and found worms inside, eating away at the beautiful cob! It had looked so beautiful from the outside, but upon peeling back the layers of husk, it was worm eaten.
I suppose this is the image I get when I think of this verse. Though we are justified and declared to be in a right standing before you, sin still persists in us and we are still found to be with all manner of wicked intent, desire, and action. These are like the worms that gnaw and chew at us, eroding the beauty of what you seek to create in us.
And thus, you are not content to leave us that way. You sent your Holy Spirit to convict, to cleanse, and to guide us into a sanctified and cleansed relationship with you!
Oh it hurts. No doubt. This convicting and rebuking. It is uncomfortable and unpleasant. But, oh, how precious it is! It drives from us this filth and disgust of sin. It purges from us that which would rot and destroy us.
Abba, may we value and give thanks for the pain, the rebuke, the correction. May we never forget the purpose it serves and the value it brings. May we never lose sight of the final product it intends to produce. May we never forget the heart of the God who sends such pain. And may it cause such rejoicing in us as we are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.
We love you Abba,