Wash Your Hands
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. James 4:8b
I knew it. Somehow I just knew it. I had been so diligent until today. Why today I didn't do it, I don't know. But, I didn't do it and soon the scratchy throat and sniffles were going to start. Somehow, I forgot to wash my hands. It was that simple. I didn't, and now I knew I was sick. It's not that I really forgot to do it, I just didn't do it before my hand rubbed my nose after touching the same surface my sniffling nosed students had been in contact with minutes before me. With that one gesture, the germs had found their way into my body and now I was getting sick.
Cold and flu season at school is a terrifying time in a teacher's life. There is not a enough Kleenex nor hand sanitizer in the universe to keep the germs at bay. My hands are usually red and chapped from the constant washing and sanitizing, all in name of cold prevention. It only takes a momentary lapse in hygiene diligence to succumb to the illnesses brought about by microscopic germs.
Germs amaze me. It's unbelievable how something invisible to the human eye can make me feel so miserable. Equally amazing is the defense system our body has against germs. Skin. Germs can only get in through an opening in our skin. An orifice or a cut can allow the microscopic illness carriers to enter our bodies and wreak havoc on our health. Our best defense against disease is to wash our hands before the little boogers find an opening. A little soap and water go a long way in keeping us cold and flu free.
Sin is like germs. We don't always see where it starts, but once we allow it into our lives it begins to cause problems. It starts small and grows big. James 4:7- 10 gives us the soap and water routine for the prevention of spiritual sickness.
First, we need a strong immune system. The healthier we are to start with the better able we are to fight of disease. Spiritually that means we need to remain close to God. We need to resist the distractions and behaviors that take us away from his presence (James 4:7).
Next, we need to frequently wash our hands, visibly dirty or not. Preventing many illnesses is as simple as washing our hands. Verse 8 tells us to cleanse our hands. We need to be in a constant state of diligence and repentance with the things in our lives that are in opposition to God by using his word and as the soap for our souls.
Then, if we get sick we need to listen to our doctor and do what he prescribes for us to do. We need to yield to God our thoughts, behaviors and priorities. We need to seek forgiveness. We need to clean our house with disinfectant. We need to follow the guidelines for healing that he lays out in his word. We need to trust in his instructions and rest in them so that we can recover (James 4:10).
No one likes being sick. It is exhausting, frustrating, and just plain yucky. And to think that the simple task of washing our hands can prevent most common illnesses. Our spiritual lives are the same way. So many negative things that we get into could be prevented if we just "washed our hands" on a regular basis using God's soap and water. I don't know about you, but I think I am going to go wash my hands.
Things to think about: What are some things that you need to come clean about before God? What is one thing you can do today to draw closer to Him? What friend needs some chicken soup from you to soothe her soul and encourage her heart?
Further reading: Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.