Two Sundays ago I had the opportunity to preach at my friend Ryan’s church, Vertical Church here in North Carolina. It was a powerful message out of the book of Mark. I preached from Mark 7 and decided I would share my notes with you over two weeks. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed preaching it!
3 Steps to Keeping Your Heart Right
Mark 7:1-23 NIV
1The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3(The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)
5So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“ ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—
12then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19For 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.)
20He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Everything we do in life, good or bad, is derived from our hearts!
James 1:13-14 NIV
13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.
Ok cool… So how do I keep my heart right?
1. Present your heart
Pray for forgiveness and healing. This happens on a daily basis for me. Me, Jesus, my bible, and a cup of strong coffee.
Everyday has the ability to bring up a new wound or a new hurt; but God is a Healer everyday. He’s not surprised by how tattered our hearts are.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
The last part of that… your doings come from your being. Who we are will result in what we do.
2. Guard your heart
Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Guarding our hearts is easier than it seems. It happens by using the fruit of the Spirit called self-control. Disciplining our minds and hearts to be better than we were yesterday.
One major way to guard our hearts is to stop comparing!
Stop comparing your life to someone else’s.
Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone’s highlight reel!
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” -Albert Einstein
You do you and stay in your lane! Focus on what God has called you to do. One of the best things we can do is not scroll through social media!
Who cares that your loser best friend from high school who was supposed to fail in life is visiting Paris, Italy, and London?! Who cares right? Or do you… see this is where our hearts are tested.
When someone who isn’t living right, who isn’t going to church, who isn’t serving at Vertical , who isn’t tithing yet they are prospering and seem to be doing great! How’s your heart then?
This is why it’s so important to stay focused on our own life and not worry about what everyone else is doing.
3. Renew your heart
Cleanse yourself from all bitterness, envy, hatred, anger. Sometimes we want God to just cleanse us from everything all the time and like a good Father He does…. but He wants us to grow up and mature and do some things for ourselves…
Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
“Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” -Anonymous
We need to understand forgiveness is way more for us than it is for the other person.
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you need to be best friends with the person who hurt you. Forgiveness and trust are two different animals.
So how do you know if you have forgiven someone? Well just imagine them walking in the same room as you… what’s the first thing you want to say or do? This is a great indicator of where you may land on the scale of forgiveness.
Cleansing ourselves happens through forgiveness. We can take practical steps to cleanse ourselves.
Maybe we take the time to write an email, text, or maybe make a phone call or go even further and set up a lunch face to face with someone who hurt us… with the sole intention of cleansing ourselves through forgiveness.
Sometimes the key to forgiveness is honoring people who are dishonorable.
This is how we tend our own hearts.
I hope you enjoyed this blog series! It was a blast to preach!