Lay it Down

The first week of our Justice Discipleship Training School is complete. Of course, the first week getting back into the school routine is exhausting, but it has also been quite incredible. We have 15 unique students who are all here to seek God and give him 6 months of their lives to let him have His way with their hearts.

We began the week with Jenny Barber teaching and challenging us to be servants. She shared about the moment in the bible when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, and how regardless of the knowledge he had that Judas had already set his heart to betray him, he proceeded to serve him by doing the lowest of low tasks. He washed Judas’ feet. Jenny introduced the question, are there people in your life that you have chosen not to serve? Judas knowingly betrayed Jesus and gave him over to be crucified, it’s not like he did it on accident, he knew what he was doing.

This story stuck with me for a few days. I examined my life and asked myself, are there people in my life that I’ve chosen to withhold my love from, and chosen to not serve because of something they’ve said, or done to me? There were a few people that in my heart I kind of decided I had a right not to serve because they annoyed me or they do things I don’t agree with. But this is not what Jesus modeled and it is not how he chose to act.

This is why Jesus continues to amaze me. The things that seem so extremely hard to me, he just simply chooses to do the opposite of what his flesh would desire, or what is easy, or what the world says is ok. He makes it look so simple but in real life there are some real things that cause us to make a decision not to love an individual; for an example, a pimp who prostitutes women. As a ministry combating Sex Trafficking we could decide that because of their choices and actions they do not deserve to be served. But Jesus washed Judas feet knowing he would send Jesus to his death, so how can we say because of their actions we shouldn’t develop a ministry that is reaching out to pimps even in their sin? That’s what Jesus would choose isn’t it? What better way is there to do things than the way Jesus did?
Another thing that was challenging to learn this week is laying things down at the altar. Laura Godon referred to a quote she had heard that said, fire does not fall on empty alters.

I realized sometimes I come to God expecting him to move in a situation when in fact I’m not even laying anything down at his feet. I try to hold on to my ways and ask him to move in my life. How can I expect God to change me when my fists are clenched at his altar? This week my fists were clinched in full of control; full of pride, fear of future, plans, dreams, and God asked me to make a choice. He asked me to open up my fists and let those things pour out at his feet so he had permission to work in my life. I’m not going to lie it is really difficult and it hurts. But God is faithful. He is my constant and it is now my prayer that he strengthens me to not pick back up what I’ve already laid at his feet.
We closed the week with our school with a bonfire and burned pieces of paper that had said the things we were laying down. It is a good visual of what happens when we try to pick back up what we’ve already laid down. We wouldn’t grab that piece of paper back out of the fire or we would get hurt pretty bad. Sometimes trusting Jesus feels like the most difficult thing in the world but he is really putting our best interest before him, and we can trust him with our hearts. I believe that wholeheartedly and believing it doesn’t make trusting easier but because of who my God is I know the pain of trust is worth the journey.

Laying down our rights and serving whoever Jesus calls us to serve in the way that He loves and serves is something we are all called to as followers of Jesus. We all have a choice to make, clenched fists or open hands; empty altar or an alter fire will fall on.