Saturday, February 5, 2011

Purer Hands - Cleaner Heart - Image of God

I've really struggled with how to begin framing my focus for this month's resolution, which is:

Have a purer heart and cleaner hands, and project more the image of God. 

It's not that I don't have any ideas about what those things mean, since I've written about each aspect in previous posts, but I have so many thoughts that are fighting for order in my mind that I've struggled to figure out how to start.  So, I am going to ask again for input from everyone who reads my blog in an attempt to sort out my thoughts and decide how to construct my initial focus for the upcoming week. 

With that introduction, I am asking a straightforward question:

What does it mean to you to have a "purer heart" and "cleaner hands" - and to "project more the image of God"? 

I appreciate any insight you can provide. 


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. I read what you write almost daily and enjoy your thoughts and links very much.

The thoughts that come to my mind about "purer hands, cleaner heart, and projecting more the image of God" are about our intentions and doing all things that we do from a place of love and charity. The first thing that came to my mind was my callings as VT or Primary Teacher, and how I do them fine and faithfully, but somethings lack the depth of love that I would like to share. I also think of humility and having an eye single to the glory of God. I also thought of how sometimes when people have spent a lot of time together, like a couple that has been married for a long time, that they start to physically resemble each other and have similar mannerisms. The more time we spend communing with God, perhaps the more we will project His image.

Thanks again!

Papa D said...

Thanks, Anonymous. With all my thinking about this topic, I hadn't thought about the married couple analogy. I really like it and will have to ponder it some more.

Matthew said...

"I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?"

A pure heart - unmixed, undiluted, having an eye single to the glory of God, a heart that doesn't contain even the desire for sin but only a desire for good.

Clean hands - hands are an interesting analogy, as we work with our hands, building, creating, interacting with our environment. Perhaps it is not just presenting ourselves to God as clean, but presenting our works (symbolically represented by hands) as being clean also (keep my commandments - namely loving God and each other). Also, the blood of Christ cleansing our hands representing the Atonement covering our sinful acts.

The image of God - this follows from purifying our heart and cleansing our hands. As Aristotle pointed out - we are what we repeatedly do. When we repeatedly act and think like God, we become like Him. Our countenance I take to mean our whole presentation - not just appearance, but also our atmosphere / presence, our actions, our focus (loving the Other), and so on.

I also think there is something to the idea of that image being engraven. Not painted, not printed, not stamped, nothing superficial about it at all. Engraving is a carving out, a literal removal of excess, unwanted substance to create the final product. It is irreversible, permanent, and transformative. It is also substantially more time consuming and difficult to do than simply painting an image on.

On a related note - Isaiah 49:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." Powerful imagery, that also speaks of the Lord engraving us upon his own person, to assure us that he will never forget us. Perhaps as we engrave his image in our countenance, that also is a commitment not to forget him.

Mama D said...

Wow, Matthew, your insight about engraving is profound and very helpful for me! Thanks for sharing.