|Mark 7:7 – “Their worship of me is for nothing. The things they teach are only rules that people have made.’
I have a friend that once told me he is a better Christian than most because he doesn’t eat pork and he prays the same time every day. Have you ever known someone that thinks you aren’t as ‘good’ as you should be because you don’t meet their standard of Christianity?
The Bible tells many stories of how the Pharisees and Scribes made up their own commandments and insisted people follow them. They tried to shame the disciples for not following hand washing rituals before they ate, and accused them of eating with defiled hands. Jesus told these leaders that they were hypocrites, because they honored God with their lips but their heart was far from Him. Jesus disapproves of enforcing as doctrine any man-made commandments. He told them that they made void the word of God by their own traditions.
These religious leaders tried to enforce not eating certain foods. Jesus taught that since the food does not enter the heart, it does not defile us. He declared in verse 19 that all foods are clean and that what comes out of a man is what defiles him. Jesus said that from within the heart of men and what defiles a person are evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
In following Jesus, we grow in grace and knowledge. We must not blindly follow traditions from any religious leader, as there are untaught and unstable people who twist Scriptures to their own destruction and lead themselves and others away with their wicked error.
We must study to know for ourselves what is from God and what is from man. Let me encourage you to read your Bible in order to know the truth. Dedicate your heart to Jesus and His perfect teachings and know what you believe and why you believe it. Keep a clear conscience before God, so that when others accuse you of evil doing, your good conduct may prove otherwise. Hold fast to the reality that Jesus said, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.