No other person, whoever they may, be can tell you how to be righteous. Neither can any person, other than God or yourself, ever judge your behaviour and then say that you are sinful. There is no valid set of procedures you can go through to show your righteousness or godliness or sinlessness. And no one else can tell you what to do in order not to sin again. No amount of ritual can erase sin if it is in your heart. It is what comes from the heart that counts. Only God can change what you hold in your heart. Only you can ask God to change what comes from your heart.
Mark 7:5-15 NLT
So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.” Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skilfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honour your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.” Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. ”
We have habits, traditions and rituals of our own these days, but I hope I can see the value of the traditions without needing to lean the whole weight of my faith on them. I hope that, as I continue to develop a relationship with God, my heart’s desires will grow more and more in line with Jesus.
My goal is to examine my heart and try to keep it clear of that which would defile it.
Leviticus 15:1-16:28, Mark 7:1-23, Psalms 40:11-17, Proverbs 10:13-14