12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
The fourth area of Christian discipline that I would like to address is about how we relate to other people, being chiefly interpersonal in nature. God is Love, and while the giving and receiving of this love may start with just God and us, it must soon be passed on to others, if it is to remain in our lives.
Lets talk about service. Contrary to what society would have us believe, the true position and place that we should be striving to obtain is that of a servant, and even slave! Voluntary slavery really should be the chief ambition of every follower of Jesus; but where in the world do you hear anyone preaching that?! The truth is that we are all so focused on the ultimately selfish, “cuddly” aspects of relationships (e.g. emotional experiences, sentimentalism, etc.) that we fail to realize that the most practical way to express love for others (according to Jesus) is simply to serve others, in love as expressed by Jesus in today’s scripture.
But there is more to love than just service. Jesus gave us several commands to help us love more effectively, the spirit of which is extremely important for us to internalize as Christians. One such discipline is the practice of giving TWICE as much as we are asked, when we are asked for help. (Matthew 5:40-42 ) It is so easy to want to give the minimum, whereas true love goes above and beyond the call of duty. (Luke 24:28 )
Anyway, giving and serving aside, another practical discipline that is important for us to practice as Christians, would be the practice of sharing deeply with others about what is really going on deep inside of our hearts. Opening up to at least one other person in this fashion, regularly, can work wonders for both our spiritual and emotional health, and is also one of the greatest combatants to the feelings of loneliness that often challenges individuals trying to live single lives for Christ. But single or not, the point is that we need to share deeply with other people, both for our own benefit, as well as for the benefit of the person with whom we share the experience. When this type of sharing includes confessions of faults, the Bible testifies that healing of some sort is bound to come from it. (James 5:16 ).
We have also to be mindful of the company we keep and the people we socialize with. The scripture is quite clear on its instructions to us concern the company we should keep.Luke 13:27,2 Thessalonians 3:6,Psalm 1:1. I translate this scriptures to mean the directions we have in our choice of friends and the company we keep. To keep it simply lets us as Christians be mindful about the friends we choose.
All of the the disciplines I have mentioned should lead to positive fruit in our relationships with other people, if they are practiced faithfully. To help you measure your progress, you might want to ask yourself such questions as: How and in what ways have I served others this past week? When asked for something, did I give more than what was requested, just what was requested, or did I not give anything at all? How many people did I share deeply and meaningfully with over the past week, and how many faults did I confess, so that I and the other person might be healed? Persistence with asking ourselves such questions should serve as a source of motivation to stay faithful with our own chosen inter-personal disciplines. The result should be better relationships with all that we come into contact with.