[Word Count: 1445]
What a mess i've made! Here we are on the topic of discipleship, and I jump ahead to Conversion; i could think of no other way to convey how GOD's Attitude (the Fruit of the Spirit of GOD) becomes your attitude.
Well, the damage is done and it's my responsibility to keep this series consistent and coherent...so i'll figure out some way to make it all work for the good...
“By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” -- Jesus Christ, John 13:35 KJV
In our survey of Christ's Words on discipleship a great portion of the subject matter deals with the disciple's relationship with GOD, as it should. The impact of the disciple's relationship to GOD as the disciple is transformed from sinner to servant to son is connected to their equally transformative relationship to their fellow humans and (most importantly) their fellow disciples.
In this the Fruit of GOD's Spirit is manifested by HOW THE DISCIPLE TREATS OTHERS.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” -- the Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:3 ESV
Oh my! This is certainly a violation of the fourty-eight laws of power; it can be excused when one is pretending to be selfless in pursuit of greater influence...but ACTUALLY BELIEVING THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS BETTER THAN ME???? EVERYONE else???????? Could Paul have made a gross error? Are there any other Scriptures that would support this radically controversial concept??
“A dispute also arose among them [the disciples], as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He [Jesus] said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise Lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors.' 'But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 'You are those who have stayed with Me in My trials, and I assign to you, as My Father assigned to Me, a Kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'" -- Luke 22:24-30 ESV
OH MY GOD!!! Here the Lord Jesus Christ distinguishes Himself from all the great men (and great thinkers) of history who have either preceded Him or came after Him! If the Claims Jesus made about Himself are true, He had at His disposal enough absolute power to bend all human society to His Will...
Yet, in His First Advent, He refuses to exert a single iota of His Divine Sovereignty to shape human will or human hearts! Rather, by the Spirit of Humility, He calls, teaches and persuades us by means of deeds the lowliest of slaves would be hesitant to perform!
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His Hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside His outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around His Waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around Him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, 'Lord, do you wash my feet?' Jesus answered him, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.' Peter said to him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered him, 'If I do not wash you, you have no share with Me.' Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!' Jesus said to him, 'The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.' For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why he said, 'Not all of you are clean.' When he had washed their feet and put on His outer garments and resumed His place, He said to them, 'Do you understand what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I AM. 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 also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” -- John 13:1-17 ESV
Don't allow this profound Moment in history escape your notice: JESUS WASHED THE FEET OF THE MAN HE KNEW HAD ALREADY CONSPIRED WITH THE SANHEDRIN TO BETRAY HIM!!!!! When Christ commanded us to love our enemies, He both talked the talk AND walked the walk!
Remember: this is a Member of The Divine GODHEAD...the Fountain of Existence itself performing an act of service none of the Original Twelve Disciples would inconvenience themselves to do!!!!!
Which brings us to an especially important fact about GOD: THE GODHEAD exists not only above and around us but BENEATH us as well.
Mighty angels by the millions stand in His Presence thousands of years at a time without the slightest hint of boredom, yet He welcomes impoverished human children as His own.
He entraps fallen angels in chains of darkness yet spends 30 years in the ghetto of Nazareth; day after day providing for the welfare of a widow and her six children.
He designs and creates an entire planet with a hundred million distinct species of life yet finds the time to rescue a woman caught in adultery from an execution she fully deserved.
His Wrath will melt mountains, destroy the Cosmos and annihilate the memory of evil forever, yet He allows Himself to be tortured and executed the worst way possible to provide humans who hate Him a path to escape His Just Anger and become heirs of all He Owns...
...GOD IS BETTER THAN US--not just in terms of power and authority, but in terms of compassion, kindness and selfless service. He is our example of both Glory and Humility...
...and He deserves our worship as well as the sacrifice of our time and our lives unto death!
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the Form of God, thought it not robbery [necessary to hold on to] to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a Name which is above every name: that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in Earth, and things under the Earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” -- the Apostle Paul, Philippians 2:5-11 KJV
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you will NEVER be asked to either humble yourself or be humiliated to the extent the Lord Jesus was; it is simply impossible because you are created...and He is not. The Overwhelming Force of His Humility and Selfless Love would kill a dust-made creature like you in your current state. All that you and i can hope for is to maintain a cheerful and grateful attitude as we seek to treat as superiors those whom others would consider inferior; lifting them above our heads towards the Savior Who gave EVERYTHING for everyone.
In Part Twenty-Two we will learn to receive the hatred of the world with joy and compassion, knowing that we ourselves once hated Christ.