A lot of times, when my kids get out of the car for school, I remind them to, “Remember who you are.”
What I want them to remember is all the things our family stands for. I want them to know they are loved by me and God, and that they should live in light of those truths.
Our kids often need reminding because they are kids. But I think adults need reminding too. So often we live like we are depleted, sucked dry from the stress of the day. It’s hard to give and serve others when we live like we’re lacking. We don’t live in light of our actual reality. But this is our actual reality:
We are loved by our Creator. Out of all He created, the mountains, the oceans, the animals, we are His favorite.
Jesus, our ultimate example, lived each day knowing who He really was even if others didn’t. This was who Jesus was and is:
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a
human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” -Philippians 2:6-8, NLT
Jesus gave up His God-status to become a human. He went from never needing sleep to being dependent on sleep and food to survive. He also faced rejection and disbelief from the people He came to save, and going deeper, from the people He created. He was God, but many people didn’t realize it.
Nonetheless, He humbled Himself and became the servant of many.
Truth time. Is this true for you? It’s easy to want to serve others when you know your work will be recognized. Or how about this? It’s easy to sign up for the popular jobs at church and leave the less glamourous work (like cleaning) to someone else.
Honestly, I can’t say I’ve never had these thoughts.
But the key to serving like Jesus is knowing the truth about who you are.
A very memorable scene is recorded in John 13. It’s when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Now, I wouldn’t want to do that job today. My kids like feet rubs, but I’m only on board when they’ve just showered. Feet are stinky and dirty, and when Jesus was alive, feet were even worse. People then wore open-toed sandals, and let’s just say streets then were not the sanitary paths we travel today. Washing a person’s feet was the job for the slaves, the lowest of the low.
But this is what John 13 reveals about Jesus. “Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to His Father. He had loved His disciples during His ministry on earth, and now He loved them to the very end” (v. 1).
Other translations of this verse say, “He showed them the full extent of His love.” I love that. Jesus decided to wash his friends’ feet to show them His love and to model how to love. Besides the fact that their feet were stinky, Jesus also washed the feet of Judas, His soon-to-be betrayer. A perfect example of loving your enemies.
How could Jesus love like this? How could He serve others, even His enemy, in this way?
When we read John 13:3, we find the answer.
“Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God.”
Jesus knew Who He was and where He was going. This is the key to loving and serving with Christ-like humility. This is the key to living well.
Through Jesus, we believers were brought in to the rich family of God. John 1:12 tells us, “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”
As a child of God, we are loved beyond our understanding (Romans 8:38-39). We are chosen and called for good works, for a purpose. We are His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). We have an unshakeable hope in our Living God (Hebrews 6:18-19). We have a special place in Heaven, prepared by Jesus (John 14:2-3). And we are redeemed and freed from the power of a life in sin (Ephesians 1:7).
Wow. That’s who we are in Christ, and Heaven is where we are going. Nothing can change that.
When we know these truths in our heads and our hearts, the way we live changes. We can be happy to serve others because we know God loves us no matter what. He sees everything we do, and what we do in His name always brings Him glory.
When we know these truths, we can love others like Jesus. With the help of God’s Spirit, we can love others well without feeling depleted. We can walk out our calling with confidence.
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He was giving them (and us) an example to follow. He was showing us the way Jesus-followers serve others. Jesus said, “Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more imporatant than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them” (John 13:15-17).
God will bless us when we love and serve like Jesus. Another wow. In addition to all those amazing things we have because we are God’s children, He wants to bless us even more.
So, my friends, remember who you are and where you’re going. Nothing can stop you when you know those things deep in your head and your heart.