Scripture: Matthew 15:17-18 (ESV)
The Heart of the Problem
"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."
The Pharisees had their priorities all mixed up. They made their faith into a checklist of tasks you have to do to be saved. One of those tasks was to ceremonially wash their hands... a lot. They had clean hands, 99.5% germ free, no doubt about it, but their hearts were a different story. They ridiculed Jesus for not making his disciples wash up before dinner one evening. He shocked them by his answer that the problem here wasn't in the rituals and procedures, but the condition of the heart. Its not about doing the right things, but becoming the right person.
One can master the art of putting on a good front, completely hiding whatever heart issues lie inside. But there is no fooling God, for He sees right into the deepest depths of the heart and knows what true washing needs to take place. So it doesn't really matter how clean and neat your life looks on the outside, if your heart's not in it, it will show by how you react and treat other people.
The only ones who know if the heart is sick or not is yourself and God. Sometimes God uses others to point out growth areas that you are unaware of. But this is more than if you are dressing up for church on Sunday, or occasionally forgetting to pray before you start eating your meal. This is about if your heart is aching to be more like Jesus everyday. For when your heart is in the right place, your actions will follow suit.
"Lord Jesus, thank You that You care more about my heart than how many time I wash my hands. Wash the deepest desires of my heart to become more like you. Don't let me become legalistic, but change my ways to reflect You more and more. Amen."