We had a noon conference the other day by one of the infectious disease specialists titled "An Ounce of Prevention, A Pound of Protection". He made a big emphasis on hand washing and had several slides showing how much time, money, and even lives could be saved by hand washing alone. There are actually bacteria in the hospital that are not found in many places outside the hospital and hence the reason we try to treat and get patients out as quickly as we can. If a patient stays in the hospital too long, chances are they will get an infection they would not have gotten otherwise. Most of these infections, though, could be prevented by proper hand washing.
This is the case with many of the "stomach bugs" that we have all had, including myself.
I thought about this title and how it relates to us spiritually as well. An "ounce" of time in the word or in prayer before each day or throughout the day will result in "pounds" of protection for our soul. Washing our hands of sin in accountability with others often results in pounds of change in our lives.
says "3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 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. [a
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior"
I don't think this verse was talking about those of us who use antibacterial soap. We sing "give us clean hands, give us pure hearts". What exactly are we singing about and what is the Bible referring to if not literally talking about washing with soap? How do we clean our hands? We can't do it on our own. We need to continually seek Jesus in this. We need to seek his guideance in the Word, in prayer, in confessing our sins to both God and others, in fellowship, etc. When we mess up, we don't dwell in the mess we made. We repent, which means we "change direction". We turn to Jesus, often the last thing we want to do because of shame. We wash our hands in His blood, freeing us to approach his throne of grace with confidence.
I have noticed the days I slip up the most often are days when I am physically tired and because of that, may not have spent time in prayer or in the Word that morning. My defenses are down and I don't depend on the Lords strength. I know that in these moments I need to stop what I am doing, spend a few moments in prayer, and stand up to the test in God's strength. Just those few moments in prayer produce the protection I need to keep my hands clean.
By the way, the best thing you can do to literally keep your hands free from germs is use the alcohol based hand soaps that don't require water.