Thursday, July 28, 2016

Holy Door Mats

This week, Michael writes that Christians should be doormats. Contrary to popular opinion, the abundant life is lived by washing feet.  This is the example Jesus Christ himself gave to his disciples.  He who approaches God's throne of grace must do so with a humble and a contrite heart.  A door mat is a mat that people use to wipe the bottom of their shoes to clean them off.  Jesus Christ has washed us and cleansed us from all unrighteousness for He who knew no sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.  Before salvation, we were clothed in the filthy rags of our carnal nature and lived in the muck and mire of this world.  We were dead in trespasses and sin.  According to 1 Corinthians 6:11, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” We are now clothed in his righteous robes of our new spiritual nature of life in Christ.

Jesus said, don't resist the evil person...if someone slaps you on the cheek, turn the other cheek. A slap on the cheek is a sign of humiliation and shame. When we walk in love our "shame is undone." To turn the other cheek is to approach God with a humble and a contrite heart. Only then can we pray as Jesus did, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." As Paul said, "for I am not ashamed of the gospel of the cross, for it is unto those who are saved the sweet fragrance of life unto life.  Therefore, love your enemies, pray for them that persecute you and despitefully use you.”  Pray that God will bless them. This is not a "sacrifice."  This is a joy and a privilege to love with the love of God with a heart of humility.

We're in a battle that we need to win.  What is winning according to God's economy?  Love Wins. Loving kindness and tender mercy is the nature of God himself. The winning is against our human nature's selfish desire to be the center of our own universe.  Winning is obedience to the first and great commandment, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. The battle belongs to the Lord, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness from above.

Anyone without the Holy Spirit cannot understand the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. The nature of love is the nature of the spirit of God, in Christ, in me.  Jesus posed the question to Peter, "Do you really love me?" Obedience to the Word of God is easy if done with the love of God as the motive behind the action. Those who love the Lord, "live to do the master's will." A bond slave whose motivation is love says, "thy wish is my command."  However, if we approach God with a heart of vengeance and retribution in order to exact our "just rewards" from those who have wronged us, then we're not approaching the true God, we're approaching the god of this world, who has blinded the eyes of those who have been deceived. The world teaches that winning is to "get even" with those who have treated us unjustly. However, according to Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” If we seek vengeance, we are usurping God's authority for He alone is the righteous judge.

To focus on the Love of God, we must set aside our selfish focus on self. We must relinquish our attitude that says "I've been wronged." God said that "my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." In order to enter into the presence of our Lord, we must see according to His heavenly perspective. Jesus reminded us that in this world, we will be treated unfairly. The freedom is in forgiveness ... in setting the captives free, only to find that the prisoner was me. Jesus said, "bless them who persecute you and despitefully use you, for great is your reward in heaven.”

If you don't hate your selfish life, Jesus said, you can't be my disciple. The unforgiving heart does not know the heart of God, who forgave us all our iniquities. Jesus said that anyone who gave up their homes and families to serve me will receive a hundred times what they left in order to follow me. Therefore Paul said, "for me to live is Christ and to die is gain."  The reward is now and in eternity. The commitment to which Jesus has called us is to follow him ... to die unto self to find the joy in forsaking all to follow Him alone. The answer to God's call is not to say "I will," but to answer by following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, If you continue in my Word, Then shall you be my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,


Controversial Christian said...

True, but how many feet have you washed?! Me neither!!!

Brian Ray Todd said...

I must ask for clarification though, are you meaning the physical washing of feet or the symbolic example of washing feet? Maybe you and I have washed a few feet in our day ... I certainly hope so. The Bible passage in John 13:1-15 reads; "Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended,[a] the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

It was about the physical washing of feet. I heard before that in that time, everyone walked in sandals on dirt roads and their feet became dusty. It was customary that a guest entered a visiting home, a servant would wash the feet of the guest as a courtesy. The host never lowered themselves to the position of that foot washing servant. But Jesus did. He took the position of a low social position servant to throw the social order of the world up-side-down by example. Christ's disciples (learners/followers) are to seek and serve; not be served in the economics of the kingdom of God. That is what Jesus was sayings here and in that case my Christian brother, we may have washed a foot or two.

Great point sir, and a wonderful thought-provoking question. Thank you for commenting and allowing me to explain.

Anonymous said...

I'm often asked, "do you take the bible literally or figuratively?" That's a loaded question. My response is that I take the bible literally where it's literal and figuratively where it's figurative. I'm reading a book called "Go Figure" about the figures of speech used in the bible. There are over 150 legitimate figures of speech in scripture. Some of these figures we were taught in English class: simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification, condescension, parable, and so on. The question is whether the foot washing example is to be taken literally or figuratively. Like the parables that Jesus spoke, this foot-washing incident was an "example" to the disciples. In John 13, Jesus said that "ye are not all clean" since the devil had entered into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray him. (See verses 2 and 11.) The example here is not only to approach Jesus with clean feet, but also with a clean heart. Moreover, Jesus used this incident as an example of "humility." The disciples often argued among themselves who would be the greatest in the kingdom. However, Jesus said, "whosoever shall be chief among you must be servant of all." As Brian mentioned, foot-washing was relegated to the lowest ranking servant in the household. Jesus used this example to remind us to forsake our pride and to "condescend to men of low estate" in order to serve others at their level of need. Jesus had said, "in that ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." This is not a burden but rather a joy according to verse 17: If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
God bless you, Michael