Tuesday, Mar. 22
The world evaluates us on the basis of our behavior—as does God. If my behavior is bad or even questionable, I need to change. And here is where I can make a crucial mistake. I can change my behavior to some degree by sheer effort. But God’s standard is perfection, so sheer effort is not enough. When the Pharisees were so concerned about the ceremonial washing of hands before eating (Mt. 15:1-20), Jesus said “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean. . . . For out of the heart come evil thoughts, false testimony, slander.” Food is ingested and the unused remains are eliminated. Big deal! Of far greater importance is the thoughts of the heart that are inevitably spewed out by the mouth and demonstrated by outward behavior. THAT is corruption! Jesus makes it clear that real change in behavior can’t happen without a renewed heart. Self determination will not solve the problem. Nor will sheer effort, or willing it to happen. A radical change at the heart level has to take place. That change can only come from God. Don’t expect me to be perfect yet, however. While I’m declared righteous (sinless), it’s still a work in progress. It’s called sanctification and will only be completed after this life ends and I enter into heaven. I’m reminded of the old lapel buttons— BPWMGINFWMY—Be patient with me; God is not finished with me yet.