What Goes In, Must Come Out
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’…”
The book of Nehemiah, a true historical event, is also an apt metaphor for living the Christian life and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring restoration to those places that need to be healed and made whole. By applying the metaphor of the book of Nehemiah to our own spiritual lives we can emerge stronger and more secure in our Christian walk.
After the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, a remnant of the Jewish people was tasked with rebuilding the temple, as well as the walls and gates of the city. At that time, gates were an important part of fortified cities. When opened, gates not only let people in and out but they also directed traffic. For example, if you were coming to the city to sell or purchase livestock, you entered through a specific gate.
While the walls and gates of Jerusalem both represent the protective boundaries and portals for our hearts and minds, the gates more specifically depict our eyes, ears and mouths. Have you heard the expression “eye-gate” or “ear-gate”? The eyes and ears are the portals through which we bring in the raw materials of our thoughts. And if our eyes and ears are the gates through which things enter our minds, there must be a “gate” through which they exit, right? Yes, that gate is the mouth. This “in and out” relationship is well described by a rule from the computer sciences.
When computers were first widely used, the well-known expression GIGO, “Garbage In – Garbage Out”, became popular. It means that if the program you enter into the computer is garbage, what comes out of the computer will also be garbage. This principle especially applies to what we allow to enter through the gates of our minds and what then we speak.
If we allow garbage through the gates, then garbage will come out one way or another, often through actions, but most frequently through the mouth.
All temptation to our souls comes through the gates: our ears or our eyes. If we regularly listen to gossip and critical assessments of those around us, it will begin to affect our thoughts. Once thoughts have taken root, we begin to also find fault and speak critically in the same way. If we watch programs or read materials that glamorize or condone sexual misconduct, violence, depravity…you name it…that is what we begin to think on, to speak about, and ultimately to act out.
Newton’s law of gravity states: what goes up, must come down. Here’s a spiritual law to consider: what goes in, must come out. The more garbage that you allow to enter through your ear gates and eye gates, the more garbage will come out through your words. In contrast, the Bible encourages us to dwell on (bring through the gates) those things that are pure, lovely, noble, etc. (Philippians 4:8).
Will you choose to guard your eye gates and ear gates? Now, that’s the choice-driven life!
Today’s Bible Reading:
Ezek 43-45; John 15; Psalm 135
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