A Scout is…Clean

I have been involved with the Boy Scouts since I joined Cub Scouts in 1969. At the beginning of every Boy Scout meeting, we recited the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, once said, “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917). When asked where religion came into Scouting, Baden-Powell replied, “It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting…” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).

This is the continuation of the series of blogs examining the connection between the values of Scouting and the Bible.

A Scout is…Clean

A Scout keeps his body and mind fit. He chooses friends who also live by high standards. He avoids profanity and pornography. He helps keep his home and community clean.

The eleventh point of the Scout Law is, “A Scout is clean.”

Being clean isn’t just about taking regular showers. It involves a clean body, and a clean mind. It involves a clean lifestyle, clean language, and clean environment.

The phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” isn’t in the Bible. But, being clean in the sense of body and mind is a Biblical principle. Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul writes,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Having a clean lifestyle is also a Biblical principle. Paul again writes in Romans 13:13-14,

Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

The book of Proverbs talks a lot about having clean speech:

Proverbs 10:31The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, But the perverse tongue will be cut out.

Proverbs 15:2The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

Proverbs 21:23Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.

Proverbs 21:6Getting treasures by a lying tongue Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.

Taking care of the environment – keeping it clean – is also a Biblical principle:

Genesis 2:15 – Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Ezekiel 34:17-18 – And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: … “Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

A Scout is clean; and so is a follower of Jesus Christ. Psalm 51:7 says,

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I can stand before a holy God clean and spotless, not because I have lived a perfectly clean lifestyle, but because Jesus did. I have been “washed by the blood” of Jesus Christ; my sins have been “washed away.” I cannot be saved by clean living; but I can honor my Lord and Savior by living a clean lifestyle, having clean thoughts, and keeping His earth clean.


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