“I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am He.” John 13:19
(A deaf highschooler receiving his first hearing aid! Thank You, Lord!)
Lord, thank You for telling us things before they surprise us. Thank You for caring so much about us that You share things with us and prepare us ahead of time. You give us the information we need to know ahead to make right decisions and to process what’s really happening around us. You give us everything we need to make sense out of life, both the good and the bad of it.
Specifically, what You were referring directly to here in this conversation was part of the bad of it. But it led to the good of all life. You were referring back to the one who ate bread with You yet lifted his heel against You and betrayed You. It was crucial information for the disciples to know that it was according to Your plan and all under Your control. At least when they remembered what You said, and saw what would ultimately come of it, they could put it all together and know that You had been in control all the time.
But that wasn’t the only thing You told them. Was that the only thing they or I am to focus on that You said before it happened? Is that the only thing they were supposed to see and it would lead them to believe? What about for me? Doesn’t that hold true for everything You have spoken? Shouldn’t that carry over to how You told me I should conduct my life, the way I should speak, the way I should walk, the way I should love, the way I should flee from sin? Because each one of those came with consequences that follow. You told us beforehand what to expect according to our response. You told us what we could expect from You. You told us what our lives would look like, what the effect on others would be like. So every time I live out Your words, I see when Your word comes true, and every time is an opportunity to believe more and know You.
If I just go back to the beginning of this chapter, I see you washing the disciples’ feet. You say, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Wow, that sounds a lot like what You said about the stuff Judas was going to do. Let me hear that again, “I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am He.” But now, You showed me something about You, that’s supposed be how I respond in my character, because my character should be becoming Your character. And the promise is that this relationship that leads to this response will lead to a greater blessed relationship that is filled with the blessings that flow from it.
Here’s the point- I won’t get it, I won’t be able to put it all together and experience the whole package and understand the blessing of You until I practice what You preached to me. Only when I practice what You preach to me will I experience the truth of Your words. Then I’ll see and I’ll know and I’ll understand and believe.
Let’s jump over to Luke 6:37,38. You say “judge not.” What will my response be? It’s right to evaluate a person’s actions or responses, but it’s not right to condemn a person. I am to condemn responses but it’s not my calling to condemn a person. Why? I am not the Judge, You are. I mean, my own heart is still deceitful and desperately wicked, yet You judged me pure and holy based on the fact of my trust in You. Don’t I owe them the same benefit? Who knows how their heart will respond to You? “Judge not.” Is there a result if I obey and “judge not?” I will not be judged and condemned. Yes, I want to experience the fact that there is therefore NO condemnation in You! I can, and I will experience that blessing, if I listen and do and remember. You told me ahead of time. When I experience I will have seen You at work. I will become more of a believer.
“Forgive.” It’s like the words in the song from Frozen, “Let it go, let it go.” Only, really, it’s not like the song. Release the pain that someone else has inflicted on You. Release them. Release them to God. Release them to God just like He released me. If I listen and I do, I will experience the freedom and joy of forgiveness in my own life.
And this is great. “Give.” First You take care of me by freeing me from judgment and condemnation and forgiving me. Then You replace that with holiness, freedom, love, forgiveness. But You don’t stop there. You tell me to give. You commission me. You clean me up and give me a purpose. What happens if I give? You’ll give it back to me. But, You don’t stop there. You don’t just give back to me what I gave, You give back more, so much more it overflows and runs over to others and doesn’t stop. I listen, I do, I see You, I believe.
I love this giving part. See, You came to give. And it wasn’t that You just came to give healing and words of wisdom. You came to give Your life so I could have life. You gave all of You. You held nothing back. You are my example. I watch, I see, and I believe those results. You’re saying, “See how I didn’t judge, and what the results were? You can see this too. See how I didn’t condemn, and what the results were? You can see this too. See how I gave. You can give like this, and look at what Your results will be. How much do you believe what I’m telling You? Enough to do it? Because this is going to be my result in and through You because it’s who I AM. What do you believe? Will You put My words and me to the test?”
Yes, Lord, I will put Your words and You to the test. I have. And every second I believe more and more. Continually guide me into Your words of truth and closer to You and give me the strength and adoration I need to live out every word. You prove Yourself so faithful and so powerful every time. Lord, my giving pales in comparison to others who have so much more to give, yet You have done so much with the little I have for the benefit of others. You have provided things like hearing aids for the poor costing $50,000 dollars. That’s not even in my power. I don’t even have a savings account. Sometimes we have barely enough to meet our bills, yet You provide so I can give to others who have less. And even though I have less, I want to give more. Because it’s true. You’re return measure is better than good. It’s GOD GOOD! There’s no limit. And the best part is that it’s not about what You give, but it’s all about You being in the middle of it. See, You are the best part of what You give. You are giving Yourself to me as You give to them. You are giving Yourself to me as You give to me to give to them. And You take care of me and draw me closer to You in the midst of it. I believe. I BELIEVE!