“And he called the people to him again and said to them, ‘Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.’ And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, ‘Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’” Mark 7:14-23
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24
We can become masters at playing hide. We let evil thoughts run rampage in our minds. We coddle wickedness in our hearts, and put on tidy clothes and a pleasant or compassionate face. We mentally excuse curt and bitter reactions because we think we are the judge. But the Lord sees through it all. Jesus’s condemnation of the Pharisees cut right to the quick of their best practices. They were experts at putting on airs, donning cloaks of righteousness, and sauntering with legalistic swag. They honored Him with their lips but their hearts were distant and vain. (Mark 7:6-7)
What we need to become masters at is seek. Before we turn our noses upward at another’s hypocrisy, we need to turn eyes toward our own. What are we condoning on the inside under the guise of self-control-on-the-outside? What wayward proclivities do we relish concealing? The enemy is an expert at deceit, and delights when we fall to these destructive habits and think them benign. What will it take for us to search our own hearts?
We can go to God’s word, and allow its truth to spotlight and penetrate our sin. We can go to God’s throne of grace, humbly naming that sin, and asking for mercy, forgiveness, and help. We can invite accountability with a sister or brother in Christ, willingly, honestly, and lovingly confessing our sins and receiving admonishment. (2 Samuel 12:13; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 4:15-16; Hebrews 4:16)
Hide and seek is no child’s game. It is played too often and well by those who claim to be mature in Christ, and our heavenly Umpire says, ‘Tag, you’re it! Come to base and get cleaned up.’ When we open ourselves to His merciful discovery, we can be ‘all in free,’ washed by His grace and cleared to live out what He has purified and redeemed inside. No more camouflage in the world, no more hiding among those whose behavior makes ours look better, or us feel superior. Will we determine to correct our game today?
Gracious Lord, please purify me from the inside out of any defilement. May all I think and say and do bring Your holy name honor and praise.