Cleanliness is next to Godliness?

“Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness is made an essential and godliness is regarded as an offence.” (G. K. Chesterton)


To worship the holy God acceptably, we must prepare our inner being by washing with the holy water of His Word. Meticulous hand washing is meaningless ritual without inside purification. Dirt-free hands are good hygiene, but a pure heart is heaven’s prerequisite for holiness.


We are not what we think we are; but what we think, we are. Thought-life is the fountainhead of character, so we should exercise caution in what occupies our mind. We have little control over passing thoughts tinged with evil, but we can refuse to dwell on perversity. Focusing on lust flirts with adultery; lingering on greed’s doorstep produces thieves; concentrating on flaws fuels slander; trying to impress others rationalizes deceit.


Gazing prayerfully into the Truth Mirror, we see ourselves as we really are. We can improve our appearance by bringing our life into line with Christ’s perfect image.


Cleanliness is not godliness, but it is next to godliness. When Jesus returns in purity, we will finally be like Him. Until then, the wise course of action is to stay as near Him as we can—to the extent we do, we will brightly reflect the beauty of His mirror image.


“The bronze washbasin and its bronze pedestal were cast from bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle.”  [Exodus 38:8 NLT]


Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

[This devotion based on Day 58 of Gentle Whispers]

Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia

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