How to Stop the Heart Vomit

Blog Post

I know the title is a bit gross, but you immediately had a mental picture didn’t you? I don’t think I need to explain what vomit is, but I might need to explain why Jesus used this terminology.

Both Matthew and Mark recorded Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees when His disciples were questioned about why they didn’t wash their hands before eating bread. I can almost picture Jesus shaking His head and rolling His eyes. Religion can make us say and think the stupidest things. Maybe it’s good hygiene to wash our hands before eating, but the Pharisees were more concerned about the appearance of things (to fulfill their man-made traditions) than real holiness.

So shaking His head, Jesus said, “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man” (Mark 7:15).

The word defile means to make foul, dirty, or unclean — the complete opposite of everything Jesus came to do for man (make clean, sanctify, and heal). So when questioned, Jesus immediately pointed out the truth: “It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution” (Mark 7:20-23, MSG).

Vomit from the heart.

When the body has something that doesn’t belong, it will naturally (and sometimes forcefully) vomit out the contaminants. The heart isn’t different. When yuck fills our heart, it will come out eventually.

What’s the solution?

First of all, this is the condition of every heart before God makes His home there at salvation. It’s not a pretty sight when all of humanity is infected with this condition. But it’s where we all started.

Secondly, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Proverbs 20:27). So once inside the heart of man, God begins to reveal the pollution to us by revelation. Did you realize you never really heard yourself cuss until after you were born again? This is because you and I were deaf to it until God pointed out the ugliness of it.

Lastly, what goes in is what comes out (always). Not to be gross, but a person doesn’t eat one thing and throw up something different. In the same way, if we’re going to stop the heart vomit, we have to change what goes in. Paul said, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds [and thus your heart] by meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Philippians 4:8, MSG). In other words, when you meditate on “vomit” you’re going to release “vomit” — but when you meditate, think on, fill your airwaves and eye-gates with things that have godly virtue, only those things will come out of your heart.

I did a word study one time on Philippians 4:8 and wrote it with all the antonyms (the words meaning opposite) and this is the help I discovered:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are NOT FICTICIOUS, whatever things are NOT SCANTY, whatever things are NOT UNMERITED, whatever things are NOT TAINTED, whatever things are NOT OBNOXIOUS, whatever things are NOT BAD OR USELESS INFORMATION, if there is any GOODNESS and if there is anything ADMIRABLE AND HONORABLE—meditate [think on, put your focus] on these things” (my paraphrase).

Do this and the vomiting will stop (doctor’s orders).