Unless you take the position that washing some other guys’ dirty, stinky feet could be one of the biggest “turn-offs” in history, what could feet possibly have to do with being strong in the battle? In review, the premise of these articles is that part of winning the Battle is to leave the false intimacy of sexual acting out and pursue the true intimacy of loving God and others with our whole being.
Many tools/facets of True Intimacy with God and others are found in the “Each Other” passages of the New Testament. “Each Other” messages can help us build True Intimacy, with God and others. Jesus’ primary message was to “Love Each Other” or “Love One Another”, in a kingdom way right now. Loving others will be a powerful, maybe THE powerful tool, towards fighting this Battle by building True Intimacy. The “Each Other” passages are actions which are to be actions of love, and actions of love build true intimacy. When True intimacy destroys false intimacy the Battles are WON!!!
SERVING and FEET WASHING
Some church communities actually have foot washing ceremonies as part of their worship activities. Most of the church has taken the more symbolic meaning in John 13 and understood Jesus’ intent as being to serve others. In fact Jesus says that this is why the Son of Man came… to serve. In Galatians 5:13 the “…each other” phrase “serve each other” is found. Peter also tells us to serve in 1 Peter 4:10 and throughout the New Testament the message continues. We are called to serve each other.
Back to John 13 and Jesus example of serving by washing his disciples’ feet we find some significant meaning. History tells us that it was the custom, in the times of Jesus’ walk on earth, for people to have their feet washed when they entered a home. Actually, it would be the house servants who would do the washing. More specifically, among the servants, it would be the servants of the lowest status who would do the washing. So Jesus was not just saying be just any servant but he even modeled taking the position of the lowest servant when you serve. If you think about it, there was good reason for this task to be delegated to the lowest position. People in that day wore open sandals and walked in pretty dirty conditions. The dust and sand would be bad enough but consider all the animals and their deposits made also in the walking area. So people who come walking in off the street would have REALLY dirty feet. The message of Jesus and the New Testament is to serve each other even to those with the lowliest possible need.
Could this possibly have anything to do with fighting the Battle? I say absolutely. As has already been said in this series, taking the focus off ourselves and on to others will give us strength in the Battle. A focus on others needs and moving to serve those needs is an even greater distraction to the temptation all around us and it is a distraction from the temptation within us. Remember the acronym HALT BS? Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Bored or Stressed. While serving others it will be hard to be focused on Anger or Loneliness or being Bored which are 3 common triggers toward acting out.
What about how we feel about ourselves? Hasn’t it been the case that in our acting out we feel pretty lousy about ourselves. Our goal in serving others should not be to make ourselves feel good but the truth is that serving others will make us feel better about ourselves. In Christ, we are “new creatures” we should think and feel good about who we are in Christ. Serving will reinforce that truth. Serving will build us up, it will encourage us. Serving will put us in touch with love… loving another and being loved. Serving is the ultimate esteem builder. The kind of service we are called to is part of intimacy. Washing another’s feet seems like a pretty intimate activity. As with Encouragement, it does involve looking more deeply into people and seeing their struggles and needs. Serving puts our focus more often on others, take the focus so perpetually on ourselves and builds up who we are in Christ.
Can you see this as yet another tool in the Battle? What difference would your Battle be if you were focusing on the needs of others? How would you feel about yourself if your focus were on others’ needs and not your own desires. The Battle needs to be fought on many fronts, using many internal and external tools. Serving others though an external tool will internally change and strengthen your heart giving you strength in the Battle. Serve Each Other!