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 May 3 – The problem is within

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” – Matthew 15:19 

Scripture reading: Matthew 15:1-20

The Pharisees mastered the art of looking good on the outside. Jesus described them as a clean cup on the outside, but insidiously evil inside (Matthew 23:25-28). But unfortunately, apart from saving faith in Christ alone, we are no better than the Pharisees. The true condition of the human heart is described in Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” And Jesus pointed out that it is from the heart that a multitude of sins flow (Matthew 15:16-20).

Decay from the inside out is always the most dangerous and destructive. You can spray your garden plants on the outside to prevent pests from destroying them, but when decay comes from within there is nothing you can do. But God is able to change what is within. In fact, Ezekiel 36:26 gives this promise from the Lord: “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.”

While God alone, in Sovereign grace, can give us a new heart – a heart of flesh upon which He writes His law – we must guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23), which includes faithfulness both in worship and in personal devotions, as well as guarding the actions springing from our heart, since our heart and actions go hand in hand.

As you recognize the condition of your heart, look in saving faith to the only One Who can cleanse and sanctify us by His Spirit, our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ!

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for the forgiveness of innumerable sins that spring from your heart, but also pray for sanctification, that God would enable all of us to grow in grace, knowledge, obedience, love and service.

Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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