Daily Devotional: Day 197
“When he had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matthew 15:10-11).
The words from your mouth say a lot about you. Your words also say a lot about the condition of your heart, for as Jesus says, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). As the mouth is, so is the heart. A sound and upright heart will produce wholesome and edifying words; while an evil heart will produce evil words. It is impossible to distance yourself from your own words, for your words are the external expression of your internal condition.
When Jesus started His public ministry, he showed Himself to be the Interpreter of God’s Law. Up to that time, some of the high-ranking religious teachers in Israel had corrupted the purity of God’s Word by mixing it their own man-made ideas. They taught and presented these traditions as doctrines which had to be obeyed. It’s similar to what you observe in some religions and churches today. That’s not surprising, given what Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV).
The Scribes and Pharisees complained when they observed that Jesus’ disciples did not wash their hands before eating. Jesus would have none of their criticism, so He took the opportunity to set the records straight. Jesus wasn’t against hygiene. He was against how the religious authorities conveniently set their own regulations (in this case, regulations of hygiene) over and above the commandments of God, thereby imposing unnecessary burden on God’s people. In the opinion of these religious teachers, eating without the washing of hands defiled a person. This leads us to today’s Bible passage where Jesus corrected their erroneous beliefs.
Jesus says, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” This statement contains a powerful revelation about spiritual matters. Let’s focus on the last part of what Jesus said, i.e. what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person. This means, your condition before God (defiled or undefiled) isn’t based on matters of hygiene regarding food and drink. What can defile you is what comes out of your mouth. When He talks about what comes out of your mouth, Jesus is referring to your words.
The Greek word translated “defiled” is koinoō (pronounced KOI-NO-O). The word means to make unclean, common or profane. What Jesus is saying is that watch your mouth, because bad or evil words from your mouth can make you unclean, rendering you defiled before God. As a Christian, you want to be clean. God says, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). God is clean and He wants you clean as well.
Based on what Jesus said, your words play a vital role in determining whether you are clean or unclean. The Lord has made you clean through His Word and the precious Blood of Jesus. Don’t change that. When you speak, use mouth filters. Just as we have air filters in our vehicles and in our homes, use filters when you speak. Let your words be guided by the Spirit of God who dwells in you. Speak in a way that keeps you clean and edifies people.
As a child of God, avoid cussing, cursing, murmuring, trashing, bad-mouthing, gossip, slander, grumbling, muttering, and obscene or bad jokes. You may think these things are harmless. The truth is, they are not. If Jesus says your words can make you unclean, it means they can influence your destiny. Moreover, recall that no unclean thing will enter heaven (cf. Revelation 21:27). Next time you speak, remember what Jesus said and use filters. Speak clean, stay clean.
The blessing of our heavenly Father come upon you and remain with you today. Amen.
For further study: Matthew 12:33-37