Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturdays/Mondays with Ashley

If someone were to come up and ask you, "When did Jesus show the full extent of his love?" What would your answer be? Most of you probably said without hesitating...the cross. Yes it is true that the cross was an amazing act of love, but according to John 13:1 (NIV) the cross was not the FULL EXTENT of his love. I'm not making this up...it's in the Bible. So lets look at the Bible and see what it has to say about the full extent of Jesus' love. "It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love" (John 13:1). Now if you just read that verse and you had never read the bible before you would assume that the next thing Jesus did was where he showed the full extent of his love...right? Well if we continue reading the next thing Jesus does is wash the feet of his disciples. How is this the full extent of Jesus' love? Because the very essence on Jesus was humility.

Now we read this story and if we're honest we would admit that it kind of offends us. Jesus is fully God, he should be the very last person washing everyone's feet!  And yet he claims this is the fullest extent of his love. Now this really stirs us up, because as christians this also means we are called to walk in humility. The problem is being humble goes directly against our flesh. We struggle as our spirit cries out yes and our flesh cries out NO! We're torn between the two. We look at the bible and see verse after verse about how we should be humble. "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12). We use our relationship with God as almost a trophy, we carry it around and set it in front of people so that look and admire. I went to one of Savannah's cross country races and after the race I watched as one of the boys who had come in the top five took his medal and put it in his bag. One of the dads looked at him and said, "Hey where's you medal? You should be wearing that proudly." The boy just smiled politely and changed the subject. That is humility. We so often take our achievements and flaunt them around wearing them proudly and just waiting for someone to come up and congratulate us. When really we should be taking that and putting it in our bag, you still have the achievement and you can pull it out to help others when necessary, but for the most part it stays in your bag.

I've really been taking time and trying intentionally to be humble, I've found I'm not very good at it. I encourage each of you just to take a day where you intentionally try to be humble. Not trying to draw attention to yourself, but instead serving the person that your with. When you do something and someone else takes the credit don't puff yourself up and loudly proclaim that it really was you who did it all. When you get in an argument go up the person and be the first to confess your fault. I love this definition of humility..."Humility, or being humble, is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others." Humility is what we're called to "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, AND TO SHOW TRUE HUMILITY TOWARD ALL MEN" (Titus 3:1-2). Humility is so against everything that we want to do, this is why it is the full extent of love. We don't want to do it, but we do because we are supposed to love our brother. This is what Jesus did he showed humility in everything he did...even coming to the earth. "Who, being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:6-7)

So take some time and look at the full extent of Jesus' love and try to make it a reality in your own life. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). So go low try to be intentionally weak. We live in an upside down kingdom where you loose to gain.

God Bless
Ashley

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