“Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” Psalms 24:3-4
Have you ever wanted something so bad, but it seemed so far away? When I was in Band in Junior High, I desperately wanted to have “First Chair”. This was the coveted spot in the class, only held by the best musician. Truly, the only thing that would keep me from First Chair or any other seat was how hard I worked for it. So, every day I determined to give everything I had to practice my instrument until I was able to unseat the leader. in the end, it seemed as though there was always more I could do.
Isn’t that true in all life though? If you want good grades, you have to study and do homework. The outcomes we get in life depend on the energy we put into them.
Sometimes in our Christian life, we put a lot of energy into reaching God by going to church, doing good deeds, and saying the right things, but He still seems distant… as though there’s always more to do.
The question of Psalm 24:3 is, “who wants to be close to God and stand in His presence?” I know it seems hard at times to be close to God, but He tells clearly what we have to do to get there; and it’s not as difficult as we often think… have clean hands and a pure heart.
This “clean hands” isn’t to be taken literally… it simply means to not be guilty. What He is really saying is that purity gets His attention!
He doesn’t want to be around darkness. He longs that we would live set apart and pure. A pure heart means freedom from anything that pollutes. Another word for this is, “holy”.
With all the distractions that surround us- money, clothes, fame, relationships- we often find ourselves weighed down with the cares of this world. We become so familiar with darkness that we don’t give the light of God a chance to shine through.
But God is challenging us to break free from all of our worldly distractions. When we do that with a pure heart, then He will draw near to us.
God is waiting for the people who will quit the world’s way of thinking and come up to His higher standard of purity and holiness. The beautiful thing is, He doesn’t expect us to be holy on our own. He knows we can’t! If we are to be holy, we must simply submit ourselves to Him and allow him to make us pure. What a relief to know we don’t have to try so hard to accomplish something we could never achieve on our own, but that simply seeking an intimate relationship with Him will result in the holiness God desires.
How can you free your heart from things that “pollute” or get in the way of your relationship with God?
What situations in your life need change so that you can have clean hands and a pure heart?
Do you believe that Jesus can take all of the darkness away if you just ask him?