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  • Chris Scott

Know who you Are! : pt 1

Updated: Mar 24, 2023



Pt 1 : Jesus the foot washer

Posted by Chris Scott (Senior Leader Bridge Church)


We hear people talk a lot about ‘identity crisis.’ nowadays. An identity crisis is defined as a period (often long-term) of uncertainty or confusion in a person's life to the point where they lose sight of meaning and purpose in life. This inevitably leads a person to become very insecure, depressed and unstable. It's why people obsessively seek affirmation or ‘identity’ within a group or tribe in society no matter how unhealthy that may be. Tragically, young people join gangs as a result of a deep craving for acceptance and belonging, even though that environment is extremely toxic and dangerous. It's so sad that people would rather belong to something really destructive, than not belong to anything! Such is the power of identity.


The truth is, if we don’t know who we are and are secure in that, then we will never be able to handle the things that life throws at us well but we will be vulnerable to the worldly influences around us.


Jesus modelled something very different, and it is truly remarkable. He was so assured in his identity that he did not need to obsessively self affirm, or conform to what others expected of him for the sake of being accepted by them. Instead he lived with incredible freedom and that was expressed in his extraordinary humility.


Jesus modelled something very different, and it is truly remarkable. He was so assured in his identity that he did not need to obsessively self affirm, or conform to what others expected of him for the sake of being accepted by them.

John 13:2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


This must be one of the most powerful examples of a man who is totally secure in his own identity and calling no matter what his circumstances. So sure was he about who he was, that he was able to humble himself in such a powerful way in front of friends and servants, without feeling belittled, devalued, embarrassed or awkward. He shows no pride, no vanity, no egotism, just the confidence to lower himself for the sake of elevating others. If anything, it was his friends who were the awkward ones!

Being a disciple of Jesus is far more than just bolting on a spiritual experience to the rest of our life. Rather, it the complete and utter renewal of who we are. From the inside out we are impregnated with a new imperishable and incorruptible seed that carries divine DNA. We take on a new identity. We take on his identity. We are changed into his likeness. As sons and daughters, we are called to reflect the Fathers nature.

This means we don’t have to try to be what we are not, or live behind a mask. We don’t have to constantly prove ourselves to be more important, more beautiful, more successful, or even more righteous than anyone else (that one is for the Christians!). Neither do we need to strive to be what other people think we should be; and we certainly don’t have to keep letting everyone know just how great we are simply to feed our own insecurity!! Don’t you just get so weary of the constant obsession to affirm absolutely everyone around us, for absolutely everything they do!! Social media is fuelled by a desire for people to ‘like’ me constantly. At it's root this comes from an ego that is out of balance!

Jesus knew two things. Firstly, that he was about to be betrayed, and of course he knew exactly where that was headed. Secondly, that he had come from heaven, and would return to heaven, and that while he was here on Earth he carried the fullness of divine power to fulfil his mission. In other words, he knew what was going on in that moment, and he had total control over the outcome. The result was he was secure enough to focus on the needs in the room and not his own.

What would be your response in that situation?

If I am honest, I think mine would be more like ‘Wow they’re actually letting me do this! Don't they know who I am!! Don’t they know what I am about to do for them? They should be serving me, meeting my needs, tending to my pain!’


Then, just imagine a few hours later standing before Pilate. If it were me I would be thinking ‘Right they want a piece of me, I’ll show them who they are dealing with here! How dare they! I’ll teach them not to mess with me…after all I am the Son of God you know...I am above all this... I can shoot laser beams out of my eyes, and my fingers are like light sabres!!' (erhhh...ok sorry I may be getting a bit carried away now!)’

But you get the point, right? So many times, Jesus had opportunity to prove to everyone just how important and powerful he was. He could easily have demonstrated in no uncertain terms, that he was the big cheese around here, and they would not get away with treating him like this. How tempting would that be?

But he didn’t! In that crowded upper room, just a few hours before his impending death, he was far more interested in getting on his knees to scrape the mud and dried-on camel dung from the disciples’ stinking feet, including I would add, Judas, the very one who had already betrayed him.


Now that takes real class!


Just a few hours before his impending death, Jesus was far more interested in getting on his knees to scrape the mud and dried-on camel dung from the disciples’ stinking feet, including I would add, Judas, the very one who had already betrayed him. Now that takes real class!

That’s a man who doesn’t have to prove himself to anyone!! That’s a man who is totally secure in his own identity and is not desperate to look good, sound good, or impress the people around him. A man who knows his purpose, and is not swayed by the actions and attitudes of others.

What about you and me? Does your peace and sense of well-being depend on the positive image you portray to those around you. Do you protect that at all costs? Do you crave that 'tick' or ‘like’ on your latest Instagram post? I don’t see any of that in the life of Jesus.


To be honest, social media has never been my thing, but that doesn’t mean I am immune from being just as image conscious as the next person. For pastors, the temptation is always to project the image that we are in control or have all the answers. That we have faith for everything and a word for every situation. To never show fear, hurt or doubt. In short, to project the notion that the lead man or woman of God must be near perfect!! It’s the same thing, just in different wrapping.


Jesus is emphatically clear when he says we are to lay all pride and egotism down at the cross. In fact, we are to kill it, and instead trust in the truth that if God loves us and accepts us, then we don’t need anything else.


Jesus is emphatically clear when he says we are to lay all pride and egotism down at the cross. In fact, we are to kill it, and instead trust in the truth that if God loves us and accepts us, then we don’t need anything else.

Before I finish, just let me just clarify something here. I am not suggesting we are not to encourage one another. Whether it’s for something a person has done, is about to do, or to just bless them, a healthy dose of affirmation, recognition or encouragement, is truly food for the soul. It is an extremely positive and loving thing to do. But please let’s get off this treadmill of being upset or even offended if someone doesn’t gush about you over every little thing you do, you say, or you post!


This works both ways too. False humility is just the other end of the stick called ‘pride’. Many times, I have encouraged someone for something they have done, only to be told ‘cough cough…Oh it wasn’t me, it was the Lord brother!’


Sounds great but come on let’s be real! Of course, it was God who was behind what you did!! But it was you that put your hand in your pocket and gave to someone in need, or helped them out of a predicament. It was you who got up and gave an encouraging message or prayed for someone to be healed. It was you who gave up your time and effort to serve the church, or to bless the community. Why can’t we just accept a genuine offer of encouragement, thanks or even praise for what it is. It doesn’t have to prideful to receive credit for something. Sometimes it takes more humility to receive from others than to give. For example, it’s so encouraging when I get positive feedback for a message I have given, but honestly, it’s not something I need or crave to affirm me or my call to preach. I have learned to just say 'thank you', in the full and certain knowledge that if my words have been in any way been half decent, then it must have been God!


So. only when we have nothing to prove, and nothing to gain, can we truly be the person God has created us to be, and operate in the grace that he has poured out on us, without the obsessive need for continuous endorsement. Only when we rid ourself of the pre-occupation to prove to the world around us just how important or special we are, can we ever be truly free to lay our life down for the one who laid his life down for us. When its all about us it can never be about him!

Only when we have nothing to prove, and nothing to gain, can we truly be the person God has created us to be, and operate in the grace that he has poured out on us, without the obsessive need for continuous endorsement.

In his lowest moments, Jesus was never provoked to retaliate; never obsessed with protesting his rights, and never compelled to pull rank or parade his divine power to gain popularity or acceptance. Jesus was a man who had all his power, authority, and privilege perfectly under control.

That’s a man I want to follow. That’s a man I want to emulate….


What about you?


Chris

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