Maybe you’ve seen the little sign floating around on social media. It says “Wash your hands and say your prayers, because Jesus and germs are everywhere.” It’s catchy, it’s cute, and I am definitely going to have to make one of those for my bathroom wall.
But you know it’s profoundly true, as well. We take germs for granted. We know they are everywhere. In fact, they are in far more places and in much greater quantities than we are comfortable thinking about. We can get pretty freaked out if we focus on that for too long. Instead, we do what is reasonable given our exposure. We wash our hands. We wash when we know they are dirty. We wash when we finish a task that may have fallen below our threshold of sanitary comfort. We wash before, during, and after food preparation. We wash before we eat. We wash after we’ve been out in public and shaken hands, pushed open doors, used handrails, pushed shopping carts, and so on. In some professions, washing hands or using hand sanitizer is a practice repeated countless times a day.
Our hearts and souls suffer the same kind of exposure. We are bombarded from the time we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night with germs of a different sort. It begins as soon as we clear the fog from our minds and connect to the world around us. Maybe we just want to check the weather on our phones or the television, but along with that come the ads, commercials, or commentary we did not need. Of course, we can’t put the phones down without seeing if we have emails or opening our favorite social media platform to see if there are new notifications we need to address. And so it begins. Pressures from work, journalism that is no longer news but commentary, opinions, schedules, complaints, tragedy, divisiveness, and negativity have all flooded in before we have gotten up from the edge of the bed. Even if we are smart enough not to start here, it catches up with us quickly enough to become the pattern of our entire day.
Those are the things we are exposed to from the world, but we also have our own sin tendency to deal with and Satan who will take advantage of every element to lure us that direction. We have attitudes, biases, and selfishness raising their ugly heads at every opportunity, soiling our hearts and minds, and inviting us to thoughts and actions that are nothing like the life God has called us to. A clean heart is not even remotely possible to maintain by our own effort.
But just like germs and sins, Jesus is everywhere. In fact, He is far more present than either germs or sins. He is deeper, higher, before, behind, above, beneath, without, and within us. We need to deal with Him as actually present. We acknowledge dirt or germs and wash our hands. So let us acknowledge the soil of the world or the sin in our hearts and come to Him for cleansing. When we wash our hands we move on to the next thing confident that our hands are clean. In the same way, we need to come to Him confessing our sin and our need, receive the forgiveness He promises, and move on to the next thing knowing He has cleansed us by His blood.
The only condition is that we don’t hold back or try to hide our filth; we must confess all of it that we know and be willing to turn from it. Will we get dirty again? Yes. But the quicker and more often we come for cleansing, the more our day will be lived in wholeness.
Imagine how much different our lives will be if we come to Him and let Him set us right as often as we wash our hands. How different will our relationships be if we ask Him to purify our attitudes before we touch the heart of a spouse, child, sibling, parent, coworker, teacher, clerk, or waiter because they are precious in His eyes? What if we ask Him to change our hearts and enable us to love the difficult people in our lives the way He does? What if we become willing to be cleansed from the filth of self-advancement and live lives of sacrifice that honor others? What if we stop looking out for ourselves and seek to make sure others come first?
He calls us to holiness. That means as soon as we realize we have sinned or need cleansing we confess it, then ask and receive the forgiveness and cleansing His blood provided at Calvary. Only He can create a clean heart. David said, “Be Thou to me a rock of habitation, to which I may continually come.” Come now. Come often. Come continually.
1 John 2:15-16; 1 John 1:8-9; Psalm 139:5; Colossians 1:25-27;
Philippians 2:1-7; Hebrews 9:13-14; Psalm 51:10; Psalm 71:30