Friday, September 01, 2006

Clean Hands and a Pure Heart

(I thought this was interesting and something that we should take heed to.)

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” Psalm 24:3-4

In the psalmist’s time, the people had a place where they would congregate and worship. David describes those who would stand there as “he that hath clean hands and a pure heart.” There were two parts to his prayer—clean hands and a pure heart. Here God is stressing the importance of not only having the right actions, but the right heart behind those actions.

It is important to have clean hands, or to live a holy life. God commands it and expects it from a Christian. You are a child of God—a representative of Him in the world in which you live! God’s desire is that you would live a holy life on the outside.

Are your hands clean today, Christian? Is there something you said that was hurtful, some inappropriate joke that you laughed at, some wrong action you committed? Jesus will always forgive us, but our wrong actions ruin His testimony on this earth and cause us to look the worse for it despite His forgiveness.

A wise man once said, “Lead your life so you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” The same should be said about you. Are you living this way right now? I know there are times when I have to come before my Father and say, “Sorry, Lord, I didn’t honor Your name as well as I should have. Please forgive me and help me to do better next time.” Although we can never reach sinless perfection, we can try our best to keep our hands clean. If we have a pure heart but aren’t disciplined and able to keep our hands clean, then the heart is in vain because we don’t show anybody what is inside.

In the same way, we need to have a pure heart, or to be a holy person. Everything that we do must be done with the right heart: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Surely we can do all the right things and say all the right words to all the right people, but if our purposes are not to the glory of God, all of our efforts are in vain. Where is your heart today? Are you living to impress others or to glorify God? Is your desire to increase your talent or to bring honor to God? If we have clean hands, but are not able to consistently keep our hearts pure, then God cannot be honored. Self service is not Saviour-centered.

Is your heart pure today, Christian? If you have a wrong reason for doing the right things, then those things are wasted on your wrong motives and heart. You need to have the perfect combination—both clean hands and a pure heart.

There is a very interesting and fragile balance in the Christian life. It is a balance between the life outside our flesh and the life inside. Our hands—what we do, and our heart—why we do it. As a Christian, it would be very fatal to have either of these without the other. Where is your life today? Are you living with the right motives, or do you find that one of these is off-balanced? Ask the Lord to search your heart as you go about your business, striving always to keep your hands clean and your heart pure

by Dr. Paul Chappell

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