Saturday, January 07, 2006

Shocking One Another With Love

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:14-15).

This portion of Scripture recently stood out to me. I think that most of us know that Jesus is talking about more than washing feet here. Of course, there is nothing wrong with washing each other's feet. But I think we can all see that Jesus meant much more than just literal foot washing. If all we do is get a bucket and a towel and wash someone's feet, I think we will miss a lot of what we need to get from this Scripture.

Jesus set us an example. We should do as he did. What did he do?

He shocked them by expressing his love to them. How do you think the disciples felt when their Lord and Master got up from the meal, took off his garments and girded himself with a towel, and then began to go around and wash each of their feet? At least Peter was shocked. He initially refused Jesus saying, "You shall never wash my feet!" Certainly, this act amazed, surprised, and even shocked the disciples.

So, how do we follow Christ's example? He said that we ought to follow his example in this?

When is the last time others around you were amazed by the love and humility that you demonstrated?

"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim 4:12).

Let's set a "shocking" example of love, good works, faith, purity, etc. Don't look around you at what other people are doing; think about yourself. What can you do to show your love? How can you be an example for others to follow?

As we seek to apply these Scriptures to ourselves we need to allow God to show us things outside the box. Many people cannot see because they are blinded by their own experience. May that not be true of us! Do we secretly limit God working in us? Have we ever allowed God to take our thoughts to something as radical as taking off our garments, putting on a towel, and going around one by one and washing peoples' feet? Most of the ways Christianity is expressed these days does not live up to what Jesus wants. We must allow God to take our thinking outside of our experiences. We must allow him to radically tranform us. And we must be willing to put into practice a radical, wholehearted love.

We all have a "comfort zone". We will sacrifice for others up until a certain point. Maybe we will allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, but we all will stop at a certain point. My appeal is this: let's be as uncomfortable as Jesus wants us to be.

As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart... Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, "How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" David replied, "...I will celebrate before the LORD. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. (2 Sam 6:16,20-22)

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