But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”Matthew 15:18-20 NIV
I know it is true of me, and I would guess it is true of many of you as well. I keep who I really am hidden from most people, and share with the world the person that I want them to see. It’s almost like I am two different persons.
Jesus had been talking with his disciples about what defiles a person, telling them it is not the food they eat, but the words they speak. In his response to their question about this, he talked about a person’s mouth, representing their outer person, and their heart, representing the inner person. What comes out of the mouth does not originate there; it comes from the heart. If my heart, or inner person, is defiled it will generally be reflected by my mouth and my actions. But if the inner person is clean, that also will be reflected in what I say and do.
Strive for Holiness in Your Heart
All too often, as Christians, we focus on cleaning up the outer person, what other people see. But unless we attend to the inner person, seeking holiness of the heart, all the external cleanup in the world will not really change who we are. In Matthew 23:25-26, Jesus accused the Pharisees of cleaning up on the outside, while the inside is corrupt. He told them instead to clean the inside and then the outside would be clean as well. That is just as true of me today. If I am holy inside, in my heart, it will be reflected on the outside, in my mouth and actions.