January 18 - Heart Cleaning.

By Alice Northcutt

Today's Scripture: Matthew 12:43-45

Central Thought: We should not only pour out all the bad from our hearts, but each of us should allow God to fill our heart with what is good.

    The analogy Jesus uses in speaking of the need for a clean heart draws our attention to two aspects of commitment. The first aspect of the analogy is a need that we all struggle with from time to time, if not daily. Just as it is necessary to do some housecleaning in the literal sense to maintain a good quality of physical health, it is also necessary to take care of 'heart-cleaning” to maintain good spiritual health.

    The second aspect of the analogy is the need to fill our hearts and our lives with God's Word. A clean heart is a good thing, but maintaining a clean heart requires dedication on our part. Although Scripture warns against depending on good works for salvation, Jesus stressed the need for each person to live his or her life in obedience to God's Word. Much of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) addresses issues we face in our relationship with God and with others.

    Just as an empty room can easily accumulate layers of dust or clutter, an empty heart can easily entertain temptations that can lead to a worse condition than before. To maintain a clean heart requires time with God. It requires filling our minds and our hearts with the right things. I can't think of a better way to do that than to read and study God's Word and let it fill our hearts with His spirit to the extent that it crowds out any evil spirits that may be looking for a lodging place in the heart of an unsuspecting victim.

    May we each do all we can to allow no room for evil thoughts or actions in our lives.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, help me to not only get rid of the things in my life that are displeasing to You, but help me to also replace those things with what is pleasing to You.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 37:1-38:30; Matthew 12:22-45; Psalm 16:1-11; Proverbs 3:27-32