Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC

James 4:4-8
5You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

In February of 2020 there began circulating lots of information on washing hands. Commercials and signs, Facebook posts and PSA’s, all seemed to be encouraging others to wash their hands and the steps in how to do it. Wet your hands with clean running water, apply soap to cover the surface area of your hands, lather and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds making sure to scrub all surfaces your hands fingertips and wrists, rinse soapy hands with warm clean running water, and dry with a clean fresh towel. It seemed silly that every adult all of a sudden felt the need to tell outer grown adults how to wash their hands. And not only that, but the arrogance some had in telling others how to wash their hands felt pompous. The attitude was very, “I know the proper way in which to wash my hands, now I am going to teach you.” 

I remember thinking, “now come on… who on earth doesn’t know how to wash their hands? We all learned this in preschool.” But the more it went on I had a realization. It wasn’t that people didn’t know how to wash their hands, it was that despite their extensive knowledge of the hand washing procedures, people were still refusing to do it. 

We do that with scripture too. We read and study and if we are not careful we become so full of knowledge yet forget to live it out. 1 Corinthians 8:1 reminds that knowledge puffs up but love builds up. James hit on this extensively in his letter. In chapter 2 he states, “what good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” You see, it’s not enough to just know how to wash our hands yet avoid soap and water. In doing so our hands stay dirty. In the same way it’s not enough to just understand what the Bible says, we have to do what it says. If we know what God expects of us, even if we preach His message and truth from the rooftops, if we are not living it out we are living as fools. Our faith is empty, our hands are dirty, and we live a life unfulfilled. When we are only concerned with knowing the Bible our relationship with Jesus becomes rigid and legalistic, but when we have an intimate relationship with Jesus where we are more concerned with living out what He calls us to do we can experience a life of faith that God intended from the beginning of creation. 

What about you? Are you more concerned with spiritual knowledge than a gospel understanding? What areas of faith is God calling you to step out in? Let’s take our faith a step further and live a life on mission! 

Heavenly Father, give me clean hands! Help me to not only know the truth, but to apply that truth to my life. Lord, help me to live a life that is a reflection of You and continually point others to the truth of the gospel! In Jesus name, amen!

Psalm 119:50:
This is my comfort in my affliction,
    that your promise gives me life.