Psalm 24:3-4 – Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not life up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. (RSV)
When I was a little boy, I liked nothing better than to play in the dirt. I had been given several toy tractors, bulldozers, graders, and cranes, so I spent many hours moving the sand and soil of my backyard from one place to another, and often carried some of it into the house on my hands and clothing.
When I first heard the saying, "Cleanliness is next to godliness", I didn't really understand it, as I thought it was talking about the physical dirt I enjoyed playing in so much. What was wrong with it? It was good dirt, clean dirt, and it didn't hurt anyone.
As I grew up, I realized that there is another dirt, which does alienate one from God, and, like everyone from Eve on down, I had to taste it, for fear I was missing out on something good. Finally, I realized that this "dirt" was within me, not outside of me. The dirt, which defiles us, is the selfishness and deception, which lies in the heart of each of us, and must be cleansed by Christ's blood, and by the Holy Spirit, who is sent to all who will receive Him.
Praise God that He has made a way for us to be cleansed, and purchased back from death and corruption! Let us choose cleanness, and let all deception become a thing of the past.
Prayer: Father, above everything we have ever asked from You, may we have clean hands and a pure heart, as we know this is the source of all lasting joy and accomplishment, and we can choose nothing better for our soul. May Your Spirit work within us as a refining fire, consuming all that is not from Your will. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.