Cleanse Your Hands and Purify Your Hearts

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (Jas 4:8)

Man’s heart is corrupted by sin. Oftentimes, our minds may be filled with impurities such as pride, bitterness, envy, self-seeking, and self-righteousness. When we discover our shortcomings, we should resolve to improve, and return to God.

People in this world are often driven by selfish ambition and hence seek to outsmart and outdo their competitors. The result is envy, strife, and evil. Envy and self-seeking could also be the root of confusion and every evil work in the church. Selfish motives lead to strife. Perhaps there are “interest groups” in the church, where believers fight for personal gain, such as praise and respect, or they fight to defeat rivals.

In contrast, purity is mentioned first in the description of wisdom from above (Jas 3:17). Purity here refers to a sinless motive; it is the basis for the list of godly virtues and attitudes that follow. Godly character comes from a pure heart. People with godly character make peace.

What should we do if we realize that we have been living according to worldly wisdom, driven by envy and selfish ambition to get what we want? We need to understand that envy and strife are of the devil; resisting the devil involves removing all selfish ambitions. If we long to re-establish tender fellowship and sweet communion with God, we must draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us. Drawing near to God means submitting to and becoming a friend of God. In the process of drawing near to God, we need to cleanse our hands, and purify our hearts. “Hands” represents conduct, and “hearts” represents motive. Our conduct should be right with God and our actions should come from a sinless motive.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (Jas 3:13)

Meekness means having a humble and gentle spirit, a quality that Christians must possess in order to eliminate envy and strife. Both meekness and peace are of God; if we humbly yield to God’s will, God’s grace will enable us to bring unity to the fellowship of believers.

God wants His children to be clean. If we purify our hearts and cleanse our hands before Him, we will be able to draw closer to God.

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