Matthew 15:18–19: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

October 12th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Jesus gave a small inventory of sins here—evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, etc.—but the list could go on and on. Where do these things come from? Jesus said they come “from the heart.” The Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah wrote 6 centuries before Jesus, “The heart is deceitful above all things, / And desperately wicked; / Who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). And James wrote in the New Testament, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and is enticed” (James 1:14). Sin is hatched, devised, in our hearts. If we ask ourselves, “Can I get away with this?” instead of “is this right?” then we are being carried away by our own lusts.

Someone asked, “When does sin become sin?” The area they had in mind was sexual sin, and they were asking when does a thought become a sin. Jesus said if you lust in your heart, you have already committed the act (Matt. 5:27–28). While temptation is not sin, Jesus was saying that sin actually begins with a thought, whether it is carried out in outward actions or not. Just as life begins at conception, so sin becomes sin at conception. It progresses, or finally manifests, in our actions. Jesus was getting to the heart of the problem here, and the heart is the problem. Until a new life is brought in, until a man is born again, of water and of the Spirit; efforts to change ourselves are temporary at best. That is why God said through His prophet Ezekiel:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Eze. 36:26–27)

As the old song says, “Change my heart O God, / make it ever true.”

“LORD, please do change these old hearts again this day. Make them like Yours.”