Psalm of the Day: Psalm 4
Wisdom of the Day: Proverbs 18:13-24
Scripture Reading: Luke 11:37-44
Let us notice the foolishness which accompanies hypocrisy in religion. We are told that the Pharisee with whom our Lord dined, marveled that our Lord "had not first washed before dinner." He thought, like most of his order, that there was something unholy in not doing it, and that the neglect of it was a sign of moral impurity. Our Lord points out the absurdity of attaching such importance to the mere cleansing of the body while the cleansing of the heart is overlooked. He reminds His host that God looks at the inward part of us, the hidden man of the heart, far more than at our skins.
And He asks the searching question, "Did not He who made the outside make also that which is inside?" The same God who formed our poor dying bodies is the God who gave us a heart and soul. Forever let us bear in mind that if we would know what we are in religion, the state of our hearts is the principal thing that demands our attention. Bodily washings, and fastings, and gestures, and postures, and self-imposed mortifications of the flesh are all utterly useless, if the heart is wrong. External devoutness of conduct, a grave face, and a bowed head, and a solemn countenance, and a loud amen are all abominable in God's sight as long as our hearts are not washed from their wickedness, and renewed by the Holy Spirit.
Let this caution never be forgotten. The idea that men can be devout before they are converted, is a grand delusion of the devil, and one against which we all need to be on our guard. There are two Scriptures which are very weighty on this subject. In one it is written, "Out of the heart are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). In the other it is written, "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). There is a question which we should always ask ourselves in drawing near to God, whether in public or private. We should say to ourselves, "Where is my heart?"
Prayer for the Day: Dear Lord, help me to have a pure heart.
Action Plan: Memorize and practice 1 Samuel 16:7.
This devotional was taken from The Gospel of Luke by J.C. Ryle published in 1858
and adapted by Pastor Tim Lewis of New England Shores Baptist Church.