Serving God: Hands and Feet
Examining what we do with various parts of our body can be a good way for us to improve how we live and serve God. What does God’s Word say about how we should use our hands and feet?
Christians are expected to present their bodies as a “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” (Romans 12:1). Our bodies have many parts, or members (verse 4), which can be used to either honor God or dishonor Him.
In our previous blog post, we explored how to properly use our eyes, ears and mouth to serve God. This post will examine how to serve and honor God with our hands and feet.
The human hand is truly amazing and unique among God’s physical creations. Our hands have the ability to grip something tightly and powerfully, to hold things gently, and to move and manipulate objects with great care and precision. They are one of our greatest assets.
God’s Word has much to say about how we use our hands. In the Bible the hand is often symbolic of our deeds and actions. Consider these exhortations:
- Our hands and work. God does not want us to be lazy. Solomon advises, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with you might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). That means we should work hard to do the best we can at whatever we find ourselves doing. Diligent hands doing hard work lead to prosperity. Slack hands and laziness lead to poverty (Proverbs 6:10-11; 10:4).
- Our hands and God’s law. God told His people to bind His laws and words “as a sign on your hand” (Deuteronomy 6:8). That means He expects everything we do to be done according to His laws. God’s law is designed to guide every aspect of our lives. When we are constantly guided by God’s laws, we won’t morally “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:31-32).
- Our hands and prayer. If our actions, represented by our hands, are contrary to God’s way of life, we are told He will not hear our prayers. Sin causes us to be separated from God (Isaiah 1:15-16; 59:2-3; Psalm 66:18). But God does hear sinners who repent.
Our feet are some of the toughest parts of our body. They are strong enough to hold our entire weight, handle the daily impacts of life, allow us to cover great distances efficiently, help us to move fast when we need to and also perform sophisticated and precise maneuvers. (Think about how ballerinas or ice skaters use their feet.) Healthy feet are vital for easy movement.
In the Bible, feet symbolize how we conduct and direct our lives. God is greatly concerned with how we live our lives and the direction we go.
- Don’t walk in darkness. The prophet Jeremiah wrote that we don’t naturally know the right way to walk: “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Simply put, human beings left to their own devices don’t know how to live. If we rely on ourselves, we will go the wrong way. The book of Proverbs tell us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Without God’s Word directing how we should conduct our lives, we are spiritually walking in the darkness, stumbling over all the obstacles we can’t see (Proverbs 4:19). Ignoring God’s Word makes us spiritually blind.
- Walk by the light of God’s Word. The psalmist wrote that God’s Word is a “lamp to my feet” and a “light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word gives us guidance and direction. It shows our feet which way to walk. It helps us avoid obstacles and dangers. It helps us walk on a path that leads to safety and blessings (Proverbs 2:20). When we “walk according to His commandments” (2 John 1:6), we practice the core principle of God’s way of life—love.
- Walk as Christ walked. The apostle John exhorts us to “walk just as He walked,” that is, to imitate Jesus Christ and live the way He lived His life (1 John 2:6). The apostle Peter reiterated this when he wrote that “you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus Christ perfectly kept God’s law and never sinned. By following His steps as closely as possible, we avoid sin ourselves.
- Walk on the right path. Jesus spoke about two general paths a person can walk on (Matthew 7:13-14). The “wide” and “broad” way is the path most people take, and it leads to “destruction.” The “narrow” and “difficult” path is only walked by a few people, and it leads to eternal life.
- Learn by washing feet. During His last Passover on earth, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to teach them about the importance of living a life of humble service (John 13:14-15). When Christians observe the New Covenant Passover, they also wash each other’s feet to remember the importance of humility and service in every aspect of life.
Our hands and feet are important parts of our bodies and represent our actions and direction. As we think about them, let’s remember to use them to honor God by practicing righteous deeds and walking in His ways.
In the last post in this series, we will examine what the Bible says about our mind and heart.