Believing like Jesus did before doing like Jesus did

Every few Thursday mornings, I have the opportunity to lead a small group of 10th grade boys at Bradenton Christian School. Sometimes it really feels like work, and sometimes it feels play. Today was play-day.

We receive some sort of devotional to go through with the kids. The devotional is very well thought out and asks good application and diagnostic questions.

This week’s devotion dealt with Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13 from a more heavily behavioristic grid, methinks.

The point was that serving others is the way we demonstrate love. Great point and we need that constant reminder. The only problem was that the brief passage did not include verse 3:

“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”

Jesus believed he already had dignity and he would soon be glorified, so he was able to humble himself and wash dirty, nasty, stinky feet.
He wasn’t doing something to get dignity; he believed He had it, and would experience the fullness of it again soon.

Some of the kids answers were tantamount to “be like Jesus.” And in their defense, Jesus does say he is setting an example that they should do for one another (13:14). But there is a right belief that must precede action, otherwise we are putting the cart before the horse and hoping to move forward. It won’t work and you could be bit in the butt.

We have to believe like Jesus (the the content is slightly different, since we weren’t seated in the heavenly realms before coming to Earth), but Paul does tell us that somehow, even now, Christ has “seated us with him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).” We already possess the dignity we often seek by making others serve us. Therefore, if we truly believe like Jesus, we then can do like Jesus.

Some of the kids, who were quite garrulous, became quiet. One answered, “I’ve never heard it explained like that before.” Hearing that was worth the price of admission. Work seemed like play.

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