Understanding True Holiness That Which Defiles web

Understanding True Holiness: That Which Defiles


In today’s generation, certain acts and behaviours are often considered normal, even among young believers, without proper scrutiny against the Word of God or the leading of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, many individuals find themselves defiled, often unaware of their spiritual condition.

Let us draw inspiration from the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who faced a similar challenge during their time in Babylon. In Daniel 1:3-4, we learn that these young men were brought into the service of the Babylonian king and were enticed by the lavish provisions set before them. Temptation surrounded them, and the allure of indulgence threatened to lead them astray. Amidst these temptations, Daniel made a firm resolve not to defile himself with the king’s food and wine. In verse 8 of Daniel chapter 1, the Bible says, “But Daniel resolved in his heart not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.” Daniel demonstrated unwavering determination as he resolutely set his heart and purpose not to violate the divine decrees of his God. Even in the midst of captivity, he tenaciously held onto his convictions, steadfastly refusing to compromise and defile himself in any manner. His commitment to remain faithful to God and His decrees, even in captivity, serves as a powerful example of unwavering dedication to holiness.

To defile oneself means to make oneself spiritually unclean or impure. As believers, we have been redeemed and cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, defiling ourselves would entail returning to our former ways.

In Matthew 15:11, Jesus brings a profound revelation regarding defilement. When questioned by the Pharisees about ceremonial cleanliness, Jesus responds, emphasising that what enters the mouth does not defile a person. Instead, it is what proceeds out of one’s mouth that reveals the true state of their heart. Unlike the Old Testament era, where specific foods and drinks were deemed unclean, the finished work of Christ has made all food clean. Our holiness is not determined by external factors but by the transformation that occurs within us through faith in Jesus Christ.


Jesus, in His teachings in Matthew 15:18–20, reveals the true origins of defilement. Let’s read:

“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

Expounding on the matter, Jesus explains that the words that proceed from a person’s mouth are reflections of the condition of their heart, and it is these words that defile them. From the depths of the heart, various sinful thoughts and intentions arise, such as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, etc. These deeply rooted impurities are what truly defiles an individual, as they originate from within. Jesus clarifies that external actions, like eating with unwashed hands, do not possess the power to defile a person. Rather, it is the corrupt contents of the heart that ultimately determine one’s spiritual state.

This insightful teaching from Jesus highlights the significance of guarding our hearts diligently. It reminds us that the purity of our innermost being impacts our words, actions, and overall character. By addressing the root of defilement—the heart—we can strive towards genuine holiness and cultivate a life that is pleasing to God.


In light of the understanding that defilement stems from the heart, we are compelled to take action. Proverbs 4:23 provides us with invaluable guidance on how to proceed:

“Above all else, guard your heart with all diligence.”

As dearly beloved children of God, let us embrace this divine instruction and wholeheartedly commit ourselves to safeguarding our hearts. With utmost care and vigilance, we should protect our innermost being, ensuring that it remains free from contamination and impurity. By doing so, we honour God and preserve the sanctity of our relationship with Him.

In this pursuit, we must anchor ourselves firmly in the Lord, trusting in His faithfulness and relying on His strength. As we remain rooted in Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we receive the power and grace needed to overcome the temptations and influences that seek to defile us.

May these words serve as a gentle reminder and encouragement to prioritise the guarding of our hearts diligently. Let us continually seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to purify our innermost being and align our thoughts, words, and actions with God’s righteous standards.

Written by Deacon Derrick Ameyaw Asamoah (Peniel English Assembly, Sagnarigu District – Tamale Area)

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