Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wiping Your Feet With Our Hair?

I am cutting back to once a month on this blog from twice a month. I am trying to be a good steward of the time God gives me. If you would like to see this blog return to twice a month, let me know.

Let's examine John 12:3, this time: “Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance."

Did you know that Jewish women rarely unbound their hair in public, let alone to wipe a man’s feet with it! Mary's action represents an intense personal devotion to Christ. She was acting against all conventional wisdom and customs of her day. Wiping another person’s feet with your hair was an act of humble submission and devotion. We can hardly appreciate how dirty and smelly a person’s feet were in the ancient Near East. Roads were dusty. People wore sandals, and most people walked wherever they went. To wipe someone's unwashed feet with one's hair would have been rather disgusting -- dirt and sweat in your hair -- and thus would show great devotion and humility.

As I studied this passage in my quiet time the other day, and then further thought on it during the rest of the day alone with God, I was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit of the magnitude of this small passage! Mary's act of love toward the Savior was unconditional and unconventional! Her love for Jesus was counterculture.

I started to ponder: "Is my love for Christ counterculture?" I find myself loving Christ in the confines and boundaries our church society sets up as acceptable. "Has the genuine love we need to have towards You melted down to a ridiculous religious love toward You? A love towards You bound more by rules and regulations and less about a broken and contrite heart that seeks a Savior out of an unabashed need, versus a checklist of religiosity completed? This might be why it is hard for us to cry out to You from a full broken heart. Our humanness, has confined us to thinking and believing what our little brains can wrap around - not much faith here. My conscience started to reveal to me how much I am truly afraid of loving You."

The last thing I see in most churches and Christians is that they love God in an unconditional and unconventional way. Since love is action, what have we done lately in an unconventional or unconditional way to show the love we have for Jesus?

We need to cry out to God with tears that He can wipe and ask Him to help us to not base our love for Him on the expected norms of our day. We need to put on sackcloth and pour ashes on our heads and seek God’s forgiveness as we learn to love Him in a supernatural way versus the same old boring, worldly way.

As I was seeking His forgiveness for my lack of a more intimate relationship with Him, the Holy Spirit challenged me with this profound thought, “How can I wipe your feet with my hair in unexpected and extraordinary ways?” (This is even more profound, since, as most of you know, I don’t have a lot of hair, so I am going to really have to be creative.) My goal of overcoming acedia in the love department with God is a major goal I want to strive to achieve in this new year. Our goal: to love Jesus, like Mary did! Amen.

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