by: FCC Staff
From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Being wise is a blessing in many ways, one of which is the wisdom we can speak into our own lives and the lives of others. There is great satisfaction in being able to apply God’s wisdom to ourselves and to be able to reach out and share that wisdom to all who would have it. Our proverb for today isn’t concerned with the physical body, but with the satisfaction that comes to our spirit in living a wise and godly life.
Often we make “behavior modification” and not the will and wisdom of God our aim in our spiritual lives. If we can obey the rules, then we are doing good. If we can come up with rules that keep us clear from even the hint of sin, we must therefore be doing our best. But when we concentrate on the physical over the spiritual, we are missing the point. Just as our proverb makes no sense in physical terms, our relationship with God loses much of its effectiveness when it becomes just a set of rules to follow.
Jesus showed this wisdom when people were overly focused on the physical. His critics were offended that his followers were not washing their hands. They had rules they had made that commanded people to wash their hands and claimed it was godly. After all, if God was concerned in areas of physical and ritual purity, surely washing your hands (even though not part of God’s Law) should be a tradition everyone should follow. Jesus redirected them away from the physical to the spiritual:
“And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. [c] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:10-20)
Both our proverb and Jesus’ teaching only make sense from a spiritual point of view. The words you say don’t actually fill up your stomach, and eating with filthy hands or food that is spoiled is a surefire way to court sickness - that’s how the physical works. But on the spiritual side of things, it is what flows out of a person, either sin or holy wisdom, that defines them.
Right now, there is a lot of attention being paid to matters of personal hygiene. As it should in a pandemic. But it is not wearing a mask or washing your hands that can make you a spiritually upright person. It is what comes out of you, blessings, peace, love, and wisdom, or curses, anger, hatred, and folly that define how the pandemic is affecting you spiritually.
If anger, judgment, and division are your go-to option, it doesn’t matter spiritually at all if you are washing your hands or wearing a mask or not. You’re going to spread the spiritually deadly virus of sin. So today as we interact with others, let’s remember it’s not so much what our bodies come in contact with that will defile us, but what comes out of our mouths as we go about our day that will. Now is a time for God’s people to embody the love, peace, and mercy of Christ. Everyone is struggling in one way or another right now. Let us be emissaries of peace and show the world the spiritual reality of our relationship with Christ.
Prayer for Today
Father, thank you so much for your wisdom. May it take root in my heart today that I may be a blessing to all who come in contact with me. Jesus, show me by your example of how to focus more on the spiritual realities of my life over the physical. By your Holy Spirit, give me eyes to see the spiritual realities all around me. Keep me safe today, not just from physical danger, but from the things that would harm my spirit as well. Amen.