Sunday, April 22, 2018

Glove or no glove?

The earth belongs to God! Everything in all the world is his!  He is the one who pushed the oceans back to let dry land appear. Who may climb the mountain of the Lord and enter where he lives? Who may stand before the Lord? Only those with pure hands and hearts, who do not practice dishonesty and lying. They will receive God’s own goodness as their blessing from him, planted in their lives by God himself, their Savior. These are the ones who are allowed to stand before the Lord and worship the God of Jacob. (Psalm 24:1-6 TLB)

It was Nathaniel Hawthorne who penned, "A pure hand needs no glove to cover it." There are lots of "gloves" we wear in life, sometimes for protection, at others to hide. I wear gloves in my profession for protection - to avoid the spread of illness. I wear gloves when I garden - to avoid injury. I wear a glove when I play ball - to assist with the capture of the ball. I wore dress white gloves in the military while on parade - to look sharp and crisp with each salute or movement in cadence with others in my battalion. I have age spots now that I am in my 6th decade of life, but I don't wear gloves to 'cover up' or hide them. Why? They are part of who I am and I am not going to change the fact they are there by wearing a pair of gloves. While all the other types of gloves served a good purpose, the ones I would try to wear to 'cover up' any type of 'flaw' in my life would just not cut it when it comes to God knowing who I truly am under that cover-up!

Either my actions are pure, or they are not. One way or the other, nothing really hides the fact I have an impure heart. The only way to truthfully deal with that impurity is to admit it is there, seek the one thing that can change that condition - Christ's presence - and then allow that presence to change me, not cover up what is there! His presence 'plants goodness' in our hearts - it changes the condition of our hearts, not just a little bit, but all the way. Holiness is more than a state of mind - it is a direct result of a changed heart. There is no longer a need to cover up the condition of the heart because the condition has been changed entirely by the presence of Christ in us. The goodness of God is planted within our lives and tended on an ongoing basis by the one who does the planting - God himself!

Pure hand link to a pure heart - the hands do as the heart directs. As is so often pointed out in scripture, it is impossible for a little leaven not to affect the entire loaf - the power and action of that tiny bit of leaven affects the whole because it is invasive in its focus and intent. Sin has a way of affecting more than just a little bit of our heart - this is why we need to have our heart changed, not just the evil intent covered up. We cannot overcome that evil intent because it is like leaven that affects the whole - it cannot be masked entirely. To have pure hands, one needs that which will make the heart pure - Christ and Christ alone. We might think we can put a 'glove over' that part of us that is problematic or 'flawed', but let me assure you, at some point what is hidden will eventually be exposed. Isn't is just better to not need the glove in the first place? Just askin!