I'm acutely aware of my need for God's help in loving others. Some people seem specially gifted and naturally inclined to love others - even the unlovable. My husband, a counselor, is one of those people. Unfortunately, I'm not. Instead, I seem naturally inclined toward competition, self-protection, revenge, jealousy, and winning at all costs. I sometimes find it hard to love the lovable, let alone the unlovable.
Knowing this, I beg on a daily basis for God's grace to infuse and inform my relationships with others. As all leaders know, every day carries the potential for serious and unexpected challenges in relationships with others, especially those we lead. And God is faithful in answering my prayers and granting me the grace I need.
So in reading today's devotional, I was struck by its reminder that begging for God's help isn't the only way - or perhaps even the best way - to exhibit his love in leading others. In Verses 1 through 3, John establishes Jesus' frame of mind as he sits down to the evening meal with his disciples:
* He knew the time was right.
* He knew Judas would betray him.
* He knew he was all-powerful God.
* He knew he was leaving his human condition.
* He knew his disciples needed a tangible demonstration of his love and an example to follow.
As Sherryl puts it, "Jesus knew who he was, where he had come from, and where he was going." This was no spontaneous impulse driven by Jesus' "natural inclination" to wash feet. This was the intentional expression of what was true about Jesus as a man and as God himself, designed to meet the needs of the people around him.
Jesus called his followers to imitate him, and to follow his example. So perhaps our most effective motivation and power to love others can come from the same place: a knowledge of what is true about us and about God. Steeping ourselves in God's truth - as revealed in his Word and through our relationship with him - may produce acts of love that feel almost, well, natural.
So how do we steep ourselves in the knowledge of who we are in Christ, and who God is in our lives and the lives of other people? How have you found that such knowledge can arm you for supernaturally powered acts of love?