Personal Renovation Day 5 – Lift Up Holy Hands
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” (1 Timothy 2:8, ESV)
“So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” (Psalm 63:4, ESV)
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5, ESV)
With a heart cleansed and a mind set on Him, a thoughtful word and a clear path, it is far easier to lift up a holy hand. But what does that mean? In 1 Timothy 2, Paul was teaching Timothy the importance of prayer and how believers must conduct themselves when praying. He reminds Timothy that men should be praying in every place but specifically with holy or “undefiled” hands. Paul didn’t mean that we can never speak to God if we have stumbled, but rather that the ideal in prayer is talking to God with a clear conscience. Even more so, Paul emphasizes that when a holy hand is lifted, it should be free from anger and quarreling. Constant arguing and bitterness have no place in our hearts nor in the gathering of the local church. We cannot lift up a holy hand if our relationships are broken down.
Over the past couple of days, we’ve talked a lot about the different aspects of personal renovation. We’ve discussed the importance of prayer, Scripture, and daily seeking to be cleansed and renewed. This personal renovation is vital for the life of the believer to be aligned with Christ, but also so that we might be unified with our fellow believers. The local church is meant to be a beacon of light in a world filled with brokenness and darkness. We are meant to stand out, because the most unlikely of people are all gathered together with like-mindedness despite their differences.
When we seek to restore and repair relationships, we must first start with ourselves. How can we expect to maintain healthy relationships if we are far from God? How can we be there for our brothers and sisters in Christ when they stumble if our “helping hand” will only pull them down further? Let us first take the log out of our own eye. Just as we have discussed in the last few days, we must start renovating within to make an outward difference.
When our hearts and minds are filled with the Scriptures and our paths are in the will of the Lord, if is far easier to mend fences and squash arguments. If we are regularly communicating with God and allowing Him to cleanse our hearts, we will become more and more purified. We can then, and only then, lift up a holy hand in prayer to God. Yes, we can talk with God even when we stray, as we very well should, but when we are made right, we can have an even more beautiful connection with Him.
My challenge for you today is to think about your broken relationships in the local church. Is there someone you have hurt or someone you are holding a grudge against? Is there someone that you can’t seem to get along with or agree with on anything? First, consider again the grace and forgiveness that God has shown you and approach the situation again. If you need to apologize, do it. If you need to forgive, do it. If you need to make a more active effort to connect, do it. We need these people in our lives, because there will inevitably be a time when we must lean on them. So repair your relationships and lift up a holy hand in worship and thanksgiving to God, who is the only One able to unify imperfect people.