Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Letting God In On The Little Things

John 13:4-8
"4He [Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. 5After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, 'Lord, dost thou wash my feet?'. 7Jesus answered and said unto him, 'What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter'. 8Peter saith unto him, 'Thou shalt never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'If I wash thee not, thou has no part with me.'"

Generally, when looking at this particular passage, what is addressed is Jesus' servant like behavior, despite the fact He was the Son of the living God. That is a beautiful truth, that cannot be overstated, but that is not what I'm planning to talk about. Rather, I'm going to look at Peter's response to Jesus doing this small, and rather demeaning, task. No other disciple is recorded to have said anything about the Lord's actions, but Peter is, what seems to me, horrified that Jesus would lower Himself to such a minuscule task, after all, He was the Christ! Peter doesn't want to let Jesus wash his feet, it's too personal, and just not a thing that Jesus should be doing. I see Peter's words as and indicator that he thinks that Jesus should not be wasting His time on the lowly disciples who serve Him, but rather on the "big" things that matter more. On first thought, I totally agree with Peter, what is the HOLY Son of God, doing washing His disciples feet? It's totally out of the sphere of what someone of His station should be doing. Waaiiiitttt. What did I just do there? I just put God into a box. Peter did the same thing when he didn't want to let Jesus wash his feet. It was too personal, not something that the creator of the universe should be doing. The Messiah, washing HIS feet?! Peter didn't want Jesus getting to "comfortable" you might say. He had put Jesus into the "only for big important things" box, like so many of us have done! Peter wanted to keep Jesus from lowering Himself to the minuscule, humiliating, gross even, job of washing the feet of the disciples. Sometimes I put God into that box to, and I've seen many other Christians who have as well. We seem to think that God should only care about that BIG things in life, not the little ones, like help finding directions, His hand in helping kids behave, help when you're trying to find the keys, or navigating through traffic, patience when someone is getting on your nerves, the list could go on forever. But the truth is, we miss out on so much when we have this attitude, because it means we can't have a truly intimate, personal relationship with God, that He wants to have with you! Putting God in the "Only when I really need it" box puts your relationship with Him on a much more stiff, un-personal basis, and that is not at all the way it should be. This passage itself is proof of the fact God wants to be intimate with you, He wants to help you in everything, including cleaning your dirtiness.

1 Corinthians 6:16-18
"16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people'. 17'Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,' saith the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you' 18 'and will be a father unto you, , and ye shall be my sons and daughters', saith the Lord Almighty."

Let's start with verse 16: it says that we are the temple of God, that God dwells within us. Not only does God dwell inside us, but He says that we are His people, and that He is our God. That can't just be talk, when God possess someone, you can't just ignore it and think  can keep God at a distance. If you're a born again believer, than you have the God of the entire universe dwelling inside you, He knows EVERYTHING about you, better than you even know! This means that even if you don't think God should be bothered with all the little things that bother you, you can't help Him knowing about them, He's living all your experiences with you. What's up to you is if you're going to let Him help with the little things you are going through.
Verse 17 doesn't have much to do with the topic I'm covering, but I'll touch on it briefly. God calls us to be separate from the world, not to touch the uncleanness that is all around us. Do you think that we could do such a thing without the constant help of God? Yet another proof that we need God in everything.
And finally verse 18: What can be more obvious of God's want to be near to his people, than declaring that they are His children? His sons, His daughters, that is what those who have believed on Jesus are to Him, His children. A father, at least a good father, wants to be part of their children's lives, not to be there just to be asked for things when they're absolutely desperate. Not to be the last resort, no, this father wants to be the first resort to everything we face in life. Not just the big things, in all the little things in life too. Not just the things that are a burden to you either! God want to share in your joy as well was your sorrow. He wants to be told about your happy moments, the times when your contented, the times you're lifted, up, He wants to share in your appreciations of the world around you, and the people that He sends your way. God wants to be sharing every moment with you! There is no better companion to have, because God loves you like no one else can. He loves us, and wants only the very best for us! That is why you should let Him into your daily life. God shouldn't be a one-day-a-week person, He should be a everyday person, who you talk to. God isn't just a good father, He's the best friend that you've ever had, or ever will have, you just have to let Him be! He died for you so that you could be with Him, not so that you could hold Him at arms length and only ask for things when you really need something.

Philippians 4:8
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Think about that. We are to think of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, things of virtue and praise, and only those! All of those (and more!) are summed up in one person: Jesus Christ. In these verses, we are basically commanded to think only of God, and things of Him. That literally
 is saying "God should be your every thought, breath, action, everything". That means EVERYTHING! Even the little things, like your thoughts.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
"16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you. 19Quench not the spirit."

Verse 16: Rejoice evermore. Short and sweet. Rejoice evermore. What are we to be rejoicing in? The Lord Jesus and all His wonders. Rejoicing means to be glad, to be joyful, to dwell in happiness, to worship in thanksgiving. Websters 1828 dictionary defines rejoice as this: To experience joy and gladness in a high degree; to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult. Pretty powerful stuff if you ask me. To experience gladness in a high degree. To be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations. To exult. I don't know about you, but I think rejoicing seems like a pretty awesome thing, to be so filled with joy that you're just exhilarated? Wow! Now for the second word in the verse: evermore. Again from Websters 1828 dictionary: Always; eternally. Well, that's just as short and sweet as this verse itself! Rejoice, be happy, be exhilarated, always! Forever, eternally, never stop rejoicing. That's what this verse is saying! This is pretty clear to me, worship God, praise Him, rejoice for every moment, in everything.
Verse 17: Pray without ceasing. Pray, keep praying. Remember, praying isn't just about asking for things from God either, it's a form of worship to God, pray and rejoice without ceasing. The words "without ceasing" mean without stopping, with no end, keep going! Always be praying and rejoicing in the Lord.
Verse 18: In everything give thanks. In everything. Be thankful to God for everything. Not just the big important things, in everything. Whether you perceive it as good or bad, thank God for everything: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you. God wants you to be rejoicing, praying, and being thankful to Him for everything always, for evermore, without ceasing.
Verse 19: Quench not the spirit: Quench not, do not stop the spirit from working on you, do not stop the Holy Spirit from helping you in everything. Do not put the spirit into the box of "only when I need it", do NOT quench the spirit! Putting God in the "only for the really bad times" box is in direct conflict with what this verse is saying: don't quench the spirit! Let Him strive with you, instead of you suppressing Him. Quenching the spirit will disable you from becoming the person God meant you to be, it will disable you from fulling the other things we have talked about. We could never rejoice, pray, or be thankful for very long if we're shoving away the one thing inside us that could help us do so! By ourselves we could never even come close to completing the commandments in these verses, but the Spirit of God can help us do that. Though we often will fail, we never will succeed at all if we are disallowing God from helping us!

All these verses point to what I'm trying to say: God wants to be involved your everything. Not just the "big things" but everything. He wants to be thanked for what He's doing in you, He wants you to rejoice with Him, He wants you to pray to Him for strength, for comfort, about things that bring you joy, talk to Him! Always, evermore, we are expected to do these things. Now, don't think of this as some kind of "you're a horrible person if you don't do this 'religious' thing every day", because that's not at all what it is. I by no means want to imply that anything WE do could ever would make God want to just let us into Heaven. The only way that we can get to Heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. But if you've done that, than God wants you to be happy, and the only way any of us can be truly happy in this life is by following God's will for our lives. Now I don't pretend to understand what God's plan is for my life, but I know that a start would be to follow some of the basic things that He asks us to do. And the thing is, it's not a chore! God commands us to be happy! Not to be sad and in the dumps because He's asking us to do something hard, but to rejoice in the things of Himself! It's not a bad thing in the least, it's amazing, liberating, and you can't be happier any other way.

So, don't shut God out. Don't put God into the "only for big important things" box, talk to Him about everything, and I mean everything! It may seem odd that God would care about the little things, but He sent His only Son to die for YOU, so that He could have a deep personal relationship with you, not so that you could hold Him at arms length and only talk to Him when you really want something. So let Him into the little things, the big things, in every moment, every circumstance, in everything. He'll be there for you when no one else is!