Feet First

When a baby is born it is vital that the head comes out first. Being the largest part of the baby, it is the most difficult part of the body to get through the birth canal. If the baby were to have turned in the womb lying with it’s feet first both mother and doctor alike would be very worried.

It has been this way since the birth of the first human. We have always come out head first, ready to face the world head on (excuse the pun).
And the same has applied from time immemorial to the way we live our lives. A sense of self preservation and self importance has been built into the human psyche and has played a very dominant role in the story of mankind since the very beginning. This sense of self is displayed very early on in babies.

This ‘selfish’ trait has been the key to our physical survival. It has allowed us to do spectacular things in the name of elevating our own importance and has also fueled our greed and lusts. Most of us believe at the core that we are worth more than others and it affects the way that we treat other people.

Yet Jesus’ ministry was not focused on the self; the principles he taught were radical, not just for his time, but for our time as well. You see Jesus wanted us to not to put ourselves first but to put God’s will first and make the needs of others equal to our own.

He demonstrated as much time and time again, when he put the needs of others before his own, even to the point of dying for our sins. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In John 13 we read about Jesus washing his disciple’s feet just before the Passover ceremony, illustrating that we must serve one another in Christian love. In Romans 8:13 tells us: “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,  because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Jesus’ ministry taught us lessons that can be compared to being born feet first. To us it might seem very unnatural to love God above all else and make the needs of others as important as our own. We might struggle most of our lives to come to grips with this central truth that true love is not about the self but about a life of service to God and others. Yet this is precisely what Jesus said.

 Living our lives just focused on the self brings unhappiness and suffering, but God’s way, the way of love, brings everlasting happiness.