John 13:15-17 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
This really was the story of Jesus’ whole life and ministry on earth. God had all that He wanted to teach mankind wrapped up in the Person of His Son, who lived it all out where people could see it rather than just dictating it to them. Yes, He taught in words, and many of those are deep indeed, but most importantly He lived it all out as an example. I wonder how soon after the crucifixion His disciples remembered His teaching about loving your enemies? When they did, I’m sure His words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34) echoed in their minds and hearts. Here, He did the action first and then told them what it meant, washing their feet – the most menial of tasks – and then saying this. It’s that last line that really hits home. I think everyone knows better than they do. Fundamentally, we are all hypocrites. However, when we genuinely submit ourselves to Jesus as Lord, He enables us to live out the truth that is in us. That’s why Paul could say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) He wasn’t talking about being a spiritual Superman, he was talking about living out the truth he knew. The appropriate term for that is integrity. As Jesus said, that brings blessing indeed.
This is an issue I’ve been aware of for most of my life. Sometimes I think James 1:22 was written just for me! (Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.) I have been familiar with the Bible since childhood, and it’s rare for me to hear anything that is genuinely new to me. However, whether I am living out that truth is a different matter. As I am often reminded, spiritual pride blinds me to how I am speaking the right words without living them out. At the very least, that deprives me of the blessing that God intends for me. I see all sorts of books and articles about “living your destiny” and the like, but what it boils down to is simply acting on the truth I know. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or even 10 minutes from now, but I know that Father God loves me and Jesus is Lord. If I really live that out, in full obedience to my Lord, it doesn’t matter what happens; I will be greatly blessed, and God will be glorified. Thinking back over the life of the saint who died Friday morning, his life was not one the newspapers would write up, but he was remarkably faithful to the Lord in spite of countless hardships, and he was blessed far more than someone who wins the lottery. His current reward in heaven is beyond the ability of human language to express.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You again for prompting Cathy and me to so see Pastor Izumi on Thursday, to bless him, his wife, and his daughter less than 24 hours before You called him home. Thank You for the assurance that Your blessings for me are no less perfect. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing You to work Your perfect will in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!