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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jesus Knew Who He Was...

Dr. Norris Grubbs, Associate Dean over our Extension Centers for NOBTS as well as Greek professor for Leavell College, shared some insights during Faculty Devotions this week that helped crystalize some ideas that had been swirling around my head. Referencing Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13, Norris shares the following:

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come form God and was returning to God; so he got up ...” John puts this at the start of this story, and I think it helps us understand a little bit of how Jesus was able and willing to perform this lowly duty of servanthood that night. He understood who he was.

So often, I think we define ourselves by what we do. The problem with that approach is that we will never serve others especially something degrading like Jesus does here because we will be afraid others will think that is who we really are. But the Bible clearly shows that we are not defined that way. Jesus knew what the Father had given him and that he had come from God and was going back there. I wonder if sometimes I fail to serve as I should because I have forgotten all that God has given to me and that I am his no matter what I do.

Good words, Norris, good insight.

Jesus was not concerned with the loss of image or the opinion of the disciples. His overarching purpose of living out the nature and character of God for them in that moment was more important than the passing judgements of those who might base their opinions on what others think or define themselves by what they do. Go back and mediate on the phrase, “He understood who he was.” We need to stop and unpack that a little more.

Too often we allow ourselves to be defined by others, whether these “others” are voices from the past that told us that pronounced words of failure {“You’ll never amount to anything}, defeat {You never do anything right!}, or even praise {You’re so good at that...}. The problem with those statements is that those statements fail to adequately describe who we are, because we are more than what we do. It is dangerous to attempt to live trying to disprove words of failure and defeat or live up to words of praise, since they depend on the approval of others. In the long run, we will be defining ourselves by a measurement that is sure to collapse and fail.

The biblical truth is our identity comes from what God in Christ has done for us, not from what others might say or think. If we are in Christ, we are CHILDREN OF GOD! There is no higher or more honorable name that might describe who we are. God gives me my worth, not because of who I am or what I’ve done, but because of whose I am and what He has done!

Jesus knew who He was. We need to realize whose we are and not pay attention to those who would attempt to redefine who we are by their own standards. The longer I am in the ministry, the more I realize how easy it is to forget this basic truth and fall back in trying to define my worth according to the pleasures and displeasures of others. I am a child of God, not worthy of anything, but by the grace of God granted favor to be called His child. In Christ, I can know who and whose I am! Thanks, Norris, for the reminder; I know I needed it.

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