A Servant’s Heart

John 13:12-14 WEB

So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? [13] You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. [14] If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.


Washing feet was a servant’s task. Religious and civic leaders did not wash their own feet. A servant washed their feet when they gathered. So, it was almost an offense to the 12 for Jesus to wash their feet. When he is done washing their feet, he puts his outer wrap back on and tells them to go and do likewise. This was probably an offense as well. The 12 thought they were going to rule the 12 tribes of Israel in eternity (Mt 19:28). It would not have been natural for them to take up feet washing. But that is what Jesus asked them to do. During Jesus’ ministry, he showed the example of servanthood. He was on a mission for His Father, and it required humility and service. Jesus did not mind.

Jesus wants us, his disciples, to feel the same way. We are to be mission-minded as we become servants to one another. Things are not so different today. When people imagine themselves having a large ministry, it is not natural to think about feet washing. But that is what Christians are called to do. We must bow our hearts before the Father in humility and willingness to serve as He served. That may mean washing feet, or it may mean taking that poor family to the food bank. There are many ways to serve.

Jesus served. He was the disciples’ Lord and Teacher. He is also our Lord and Teacher. We must not look at Jesus and say, “He was God, of course he could.” We must not use his Godhood as an excuse not to imitate Him. Rather we must say to ourselves, “the Lord and Teacher served both the lost and the saved. I must also serve.” When we serve, we are opening avenues to plead with others to be reconciled to God through Jesus. To the lost, that is salvation from eternity without God. To believers, it is encouragement in the Lord as we refresh one another.


Lord, please give me a heart for service. Help me recognize opportunities throughout my day to serve. Help me lay down my own interests and care for another’s interests. Help me trust you with myself and with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Humility Amid Greatness

John 13:1,3-5 WEB

Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. [3] Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God, [4] arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. [5] Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


Jesus knew he was going to die. The Father had come to him with Moses and Elijah and encouraged him regarding the upcoming events (Mt 17:1-9). So, Jesus knew. Yet, despite the personal trial he was experiencing, he did not stop and start focusing on himself. He did not seek pity or attention. Nor did he seek praise for his willingness and surrender. Instead, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).

During Jesus’ time on earth, feet washing was a courtesy. It was bestowed upon guests when they went into another’s home (Luke 7:37-38). Thus, the Lord was treating the disciples like his own guests. It was Jesus’ final Passover and he spent the time ministering to his disciples. At the same time, Jesus’ need was great. Only a short time later do we find him praying for deliverance from the upcoming events (Mt 26:39). Yet in all these things Jesus humbled himself in the sight of the Father.

If anyone has ever had bragging rights it was Jesus. He was the only begotten son of God (John 3:16). He was also a miracle worker (Mt 8:23-27). He could feed thousands with mere scraps (John 6:1-15) and his following was growing. He had something to boast about. Yet he didn’t. He never felt entitled. Rather he humbled himself in the sight of God and the disciples. He showed us how to act amid greatness.


Lord, please help me grow in humility. Take boasting out of my mouth and help me become a servant to others. Thank you for interceding on my behalf, Lord. Help me behave more like You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Walking in the Light

John 12:35-37 WEB

Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going. [36] While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.” Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them. [37] But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him,


What does it mean to walk in the light? It means a person who believes in Jesus and walks according to his teachings. The deeds of the light are mercy, justice, and humility (Micah 6:8). That is what walking in the light meant 2000 years ago and it still means the same thing today. Believers today must still walk in the light. When a person is walking in the light, they are obedient to the Bible. People walking in the light are convinced that all sin is darkness.

There are several sin lists in the New Testament. Romans 1:29-30 is one of those lists. Some of the things on this list might be a surprise. For example, gossip is grouped with murder. Also, from the same verses boasting and arrogance are also compared to murder. When we walk in these sins and have no urgent desire to stop sinning, we are walking in the dark. When we walk in the light, our sin is a great burden. When we walk in the dark it sounds foolish to repent of sin and walk in the light (Cor 1:18).

An urgent desire to stop sinning is apparent in the life of a person walking in the light. The deeds of walking in the light are different than the deeds of darkness. In the light people visit orphans and widows (James 1:27). They guard their hearts and mouths turning away from evil speaking and evil deeds (John 17:15). People in the light are healed and delivered from sin (Romans 12:2). And righteousness is their heart’s desire (John 2:29).


Lord, give me the grace to recognize and turn away from sin. Please help me read the Bible and give me an understanding of the Bible. I long to walk in your commandments, Lord. Please help me to embrace righteousness and walk in the light.

Planted by God

John 12:23-26 WEB

Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. [24] Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.


Jesus taught a mentality that modern science may have called suicidal. He calls for us to abhor our own lives in preference for a life in God. The Lord goes so far as to say, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:25). Everything we know about having a successful life is nothing in the light of the gospel. According to this passage we are to die. But if we are faithful to serve Jesus, the Father will honor us.

How does the Father honor a person he has told to lay down their life? Once we lay our lives down, he often gives us our lives back. Jesus is the only one who needed to die for the salvation of the world. However, working out our salvation some will be called to martyrdom. Most will not. Most people who commit their whole life to Jesus will prosper. It is impossible to stop wanting goodness and the fullness of life. But with God it is possible.

There are so many ways to lay down our lives. A stable, committed prayer life is a small death to self. Reading the Bible daily is another way to lay our lives down. The same can be said for tithing. It can also be said for going to church every week. Laying down our life could be following the Spirit to a new job. It may be when we humble ourselves to the ungodly for the sake of their salvation. We show others the way to salvation through our righteous behavior and our holy mindset. If we lay our lives down for the sake of obedience, it proves we serve and love Jesus.


Lord, teach me how to lay my life down for you. Teach me how to humble myself to you in obedience and righteousness. And teach me to lead others to you through love and holiness. I want to love you and others more than I love myself. All things are possible in you, Jesus. I trust you to teach me how to lay my life down. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Seek Ye First

John 10:16-18 WEB

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. [17] Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. [18] No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”


Did you know, like Jesus, we have the power to lay our lives down and the power to pick our lives back up? On the cross, Jesus paid the full penalty for humanity’s sin. When the payment was complete, he gave up life and died. Ironically, Jesus had control over his journey to the cross. Jesus went to the cross fully capable of avoiding the horrific experience.

But he did not avoid the shame and suffering. He embraced it as God’s will. He gave his life up willingly (Heb 12:2). After his death, he took his life back up by the power of resurrection that dwelt in Him (John 11:25). The word says the spirit of resurrection that was in Christ raised him from the dead. Jesus laid his life down and he took his life back up. It was good for us that Jesus was able to take his life back, it meant victory for the whole world (John 19:30).

When we choose to lay our lives down, we are emulating Christ. We do not lay our lives down in vain, we lay our lives down for the good of those being saved (1 John 3:16). Likewise, after we have been humbled by the Lord, we can take our lives back up. The word says that if we seek after righteousness, we will have abundant blessings (Mat 6:33). We lay our lives down for and allow the Father to purify us. After this process has done its work, the Father lets us pick our lives back up. We are meant to love others more than ourselves and we are also meant to walk in victory (1 Cor 15:54-57).


Lord, I want to walk in holiness and righteousness so that I can be used by you. And after a season of being humbled, I know I will have the desires of my heart. Please do your work and take away my worldly appetites. Then, when the time is right, lead me into victory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God’s Audible Voice

John 10:1-6 WEB

“Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn’t enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. [4] Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. [5] They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don’t know the voice of strangers.” [6] Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn’t understand what he was telling them.


Have you ever heard God speaking audibly? No one can hear the audible voice of God.  So, how can we recognize Jesus’ voice? In part, we listen to the small still whisper in our hearts. Yet, this is problematic because if Satan is deceiving us, we may hear our own sin-sick longings and think it is God. The Bible says the heart is desperately wicked, no man can know it.

Even So, God has always spoken to his people in a variety of ways. He sent angels to Abraham and prophets to kings. He speaks to our hearts with his gentle voice; a voice we must learn to trust without becoming excessively confident. This is because all these methods can be perverted by sin. Only in the Bible do we have full confidence.

The only thing in which we can be entirely confident is the Bible. The Bible says Jesus is the word. This gives us our answer; the only way we can have full confidence is to know God’s word. The Bible is speaking, audibly, for God.


Lord, teach me to take everything I believe you are telling me and compare it to the teaching of the Bible. Help me trust without becoming excessively confident so that I will rely on your word and give no opportunity to Satan. Teach me discernment and humility as I press into hearing from you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Great Love of God

John 9:4-7 WEB

I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work. [5] While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” [6] When he had said this, he spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, anointed the blind man’s eyes with the mud, [7] and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.


When Jesus walked the earth in his human form, he was a great light. He did great signs and wonders. For those who were exposed to Jesus, he testified with his life and his choices of God. He did not attract attention to himself. God took care of the attention and acclaim. Jesus could not be the light of the world and remain hidden.

So, why would the light of the world make a spit paste, put it on the man’s eyes, and tell him to wash in the pool at Siloam? He did it to take away his darkness. He did it because he cares more about the man’s soul than the man liking him. Jesus did what he saw in his mind’s eye. He did what he believed the Father showed him to do. He was humble in his obedience.

Because of that humility he was able to minister humility to the blind beggar. The Father cares more about the man who was blind than he cares about his own incredible plan. Not only will God bless us, but he will also correct us and heal us. When God is in something, the good seems to expand. Everywhere you turn, when God is doing something, it turns good. Everywhere you look there is more healing, more binding from brokenness, more restoration.


Lord, thank you for loving me and refusing to take advantage of my love for you. Please help me love people the way you love me, with endless integrity, compassion, and kindness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What Jesus Heard

John 8:25-27 WEB

They said therefore to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. [26] I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world.” [27] They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father.


Even Jesus had to hold his tongue. He was constrained by the voice of the Father. If Jesus heard it, he was faithful to say it. If he only had his own opinion, he remained silent.  However, the Jews wanted to know more about Jesus. They pressed him for an answer. The only answer Jesus had for the Jews was that he was who and what he said he was from the beginning. Jesus assumes they have heard him previously and he judges them based on what they should know.

But that judgment is implied at this point. Jesus tells them he is going to judge them and say things about them. Yet, it wasn’t the right time. In his humility, Jesus remains silent. He gives the Jews enough information they can intuit his meaning. But he did not say anything outright. Instead, he would wait to hear from his Father and then speak.

Jesus implies another judgment. He has judged the Father as trustworthy. Jesus clearly believed he could hear the Father’s voice, he believed the Father was trustworthy, and these two things together meant the Jews were responsible to accept his testimony. Jesus felt his testimony was valid because he only spoke what the Father said, and the Father always speaks the truth.  


Lord Jesus, train my ear to hear you. Protect me as I stretch out my faith and act upon your voice. Give me the wisdom to go slow. Teach me humility and discernment so I will be silent when all I have is my opinion. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Working for God

John 6:27-29 WEB

Don’t work for the food which perishes, but for the food which remains to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has sealed him.” [28] They said therefore to him, “What must we do, that we may work the works of God?” [29] Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”


Believing is our only job. So, what does believing look like? Is it something we say or something we do that demonstrates belief? In 1 John 3:23 WEB, the Bible says, “This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded.” That’s interesting. It looks like God commands us to believe in Jesus. However, Jesus commands us to love one another. So, believing must look like the love of Christ coming out of us.

Well, that leads to the next question, what does the love of Christ coming out of us look like? It looks like carrying your cross. It looks like obedience. Jesus loved us so much he died a horrible death to see us safe in the love of God. Jesus loved us by laying his life down. We should do the same. Believing Jesus looks like humbling ourselves to the same behavior he demonstrated. If anyone wants to do the works of God, he must believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus means imitating him. Believing Jesus looks like giving ourselves away.


Lord Jesus, please forgive me for all the times I have demonstrated unbelief. Help me trust your ways so that I begin to imitate you and thereby come into obedience. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Humility and Judgment

John 5:27 WEB

He also gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man.


I’m sorry, what did that say? That Jesus can execute judgment because he is a son of man? That is amazing. If Jesus had an ability based specifically on his humanity, then perhaps we have that same ability. What an enormous thought, do modern believers have the same authority to execute judgment as Jesus?

First, what does Jesus say about his authority to judge? He says, “For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” (John 3:17 WEB) So, Jesus has the authority to judge but that is not his priority. His top priority is to see the world saved. Second, in the book of Matthew, we read, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:37 WEB) Jesus has said the judgment comes from our words. It is not specifically that He is going to judge every microscopic thing, rather, how we conduct ourselves will judge us.

These are just two things that Jesus taught about his authority to judge. Jesus’ top priority is salvation, and he lets us judge ourselves with our words. It is ironic that the Father gives Jesus the right to judge because Jesus is humble and does not seem to want to judge anyone.  Instead, Jesus stays focused on God’s will and does not rejoice over the authority he has.

Therefore, it seems like Jesus’ current judgment is based on human attributes shared by modern believers. We all have priorities, and those priorities are reflected in our words and actions. Also, we all look at people’s behavior and make judgments. Thus, if like Jesus, we have God’s will as our top priority, we will not be that interested in judgment. However, if the time comes and a judgment must be made, we can look to the example that Jesus left us in the Bible.  


Lord Jesus, please help me love people and do all I legitimately can to see them saved. Help me have humility so that I stop judging people based on the world’s standards. And Lord, when I do have to make a judgment, let me keep your priorities so that I make righteous judgments. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.