Battlefields of the Christian Life: The Hands

Throughout the Bible there are many references to the hand. There are many types of hands that are described in the Bible. As Christians, we should strive to have hands that are pleasing to God.

The Slothful Hand vs. The Prudent Hand. In comparing the slothful hand with the prudent hand we see, first of all, that the slothful hand brings poverty. Notice what Proverbs 6:10-11 says. “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” Proverbs 10:4 also says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” The slothful or lazy hand is one that brings physical poverty as well as spiritual poverty. It is a common principle that if you do not work, then you will suffer poverty in more ways than one. As Christians, we should have good work ethics. Christians should be the best employees that the world has ever seen. We should be known as hard workers. Why? Because everything we do is for the glory of God. When we work hard, we will be satisfied with what God provides through our hard work. The slothful hand also brings spiritual poverty. Spiritual laziness will lead to a lack of wisdom and understanding. Too often we find ourselves becoming lazy spiritually. We tend to get slack in our study of God’s Word. We focus so much on taking care of our physical needs that we neglect our spiritual needs. As a result, we lack wisdom and understanding and we remain as immature believers never accomplishing anything for the kingdom of God. In contrast to the slothful hand, we see that the prudent hand brings wealth. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give him that needeth.” The prudent hand is one that will bring both physical and spiritual wealth. When you work hard and live as a good steward, God will enable you to give to those who are in need. Those who tend to their spiritual life will gain spiritual wealth. If you are faithful in the daily study of God’s Word and in prayer, you will gain a storehouse of spiritual wisdom and understanding that will enable you to minister to others. However, it must be understood that such wealth will never come without work. There must be serious effort on our part in order to gain such spiritual wealth. Spiritual wealth is achieved by those who faithfully feed on God’s Word.

The Unclean Hand vs. The Clean Hand. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The unclean hand is one that is selfish. It cares only for that which pleases it’s self. The unclean hand is full of sin and evil. This is how our lives were before we met Christ. We were filthy and stained by the world. Even as Christians, we fall into sin and our lives are filled with the filth of the world. However, the scripture teaches us to cleanse our hands. In other words, we should confess our sins and allow the Word of God to wash us and make us clean. Such a clean hand will do that which is right. Its actions and endeavors will be that which brings glory to God. The more we clean ourselves from the filth of the world, the closer we will be to God and the closer He will be to us.

The Judging Hand vs. The Praying Hand. The judging hand is one that is skeptical. It is unwise. Instead of reaching out and helping someone, it assumes the worst. The judging hand condemns. It attempts to take the place of God and make accusations and judgments that are unwarranted. Instead of having a judging hand, we should have a praying hand. First Timothy 2:8 says, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” The scripture also says in James 5:13-15, “Is there any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” Laying hands on someone in prayer is a symbol of affirmation. It is communicating to the one you are praying for that you are there for them and you care for them. It is affirming the promises of God in their life. Too often we are quick to judge others. Instead, we should affirm the grace of God in others. We should pray for them and let them know we are praying for them. We may not agree or condone the things they are doing, but we let them know that we are not giving up on them and that we are praying for them. As Christians, we should have praying hands and not judging hands.

Man’s Hand vs. God’s Hand. Man’s hand is naturally corrupt and sinful. Man’s hand is limited. Apart from Christ, the hand of man is powerless and useless. However, the hand of God is pure and holy. The hand of God is powerful. There is nothing that the hand of God cannot do. The hand of God is transforming. The hand of God can literally change a life in an instant. The hand of God is loving. God cares for you. He is concerned for you. He loves you. The hand of God is also firm and steady. He is just and impartial in His judgment. He will not allow the believer to go too far in sin. He will firmly lead us back to where we need to be. The hand of God is faithful. He will never leave us and He will never forsake us. He is with us through the good times and the bad. The hand of God is sovereign. He is in control. He has an overarching control. He is in control but not controlling. He gives us room to make our own choices, yet; He is on the throne. The hand of God is on you and on me. It is by the hand of God that everything is held together. Therefore, as believers, we have no need to fear. Our response to God’s hand should be that of total trust and surrender. We should submit our lives to Him. We should allow His hand to guide us and to lead us.

As we face the battle of our hands, we need to learn to rest in the hands of God. The more we rely upon Him, the more we surrender to Him, the more our hands will be clean and useful and productive.

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