The world’s system violates the design of God’s creation and is constantly pulling on us to get us to buy in. It’s set up for us to pursue purpose, significance and belonging with wisdom that is contrary to the wisdom of God.
When we live by the wisdom of the world, we are kept from experiencing how Wisdom designed life to flourish.
One of the biggest mistakes that gets repeated over and over and over and over again in churches all around the world is violating God’s relational design of mutuality. Whether it’s marriage, family, friends or acquaintances; from Genesis to Revelation God has made it clear that he created humans for co-equal partnership with one another.
As soon as this design is violated, seeds of unhealthiness are planted and given the perfect environment to sprout. When you’re in this situation (I have been numerous times), it may take you a while to realize and/or feel the effects of it. But you will eventually.
I go very in-depth about this subject in the series of posts I call Servants & Slaves. Go there to dive deeper.
Special classes of Christians
The pattern you see happen is people abandon mutually submissive relationships because they think they’ve attained some kind of level where they don’t need other people as much as other people need them.
They get it in their heads and hearts that they’re in some kind of special class of Christian, that they’ve been called out as a part of some kind of chosen few to supply more of the Lord to others than is supplied to them.
But the Lord simply said to all of his disciples…
Wash one another’s feet. (John 13:13-15)
Violating this design for life together comes with all-to-familiar consequences, no matter who the participants are and how transformed you might perceive them to be.
In fact, the more seasoned as a Christian you are, the more you need this mutual foot-washing to be a part of daily life. As you advance more in Christ-like character and commitment to the Kingdom, the more conflict the world will bring upon you (2 Timothy 3:12) and the more you’ll feel the residue it leaves on you as you interact with it.
Dust gathers on everyone’s feet
As a new human that belongs to another world, you’re still brushing up against the fallen world’s system every day. You’re inevitably affected by these encounters.
In the book Love Not The World, Watchman Nee envisions this being like dust gathering on your feet as you walk through the world.
It is unavoidable that we shall contract something. Move about Satan’s kingdom and something certainly clings to us. Like a film upon us it comes between us and our Lord. This is inescapable, simply because we are touching the world’s things all the time, its business and its pleasures, its corrupt scale of values and its whole ungodly outlook. It is as though there were a coating of something contaminating you.
It doesn’t matter how transformed you think you’ve become. Being touched by the world is going to happen repeatedly as part of life. The nature of how the world will touch you will surely change as you grow in Christ, but you’ll never get to a spiritual level in this life that will keep this from happening.
This is why ministry in the body of Christ is never portrayed as anything but mutual by Christ Himself and those who laid the foundation for what the Church is by His Spirit inside of them.
Each person needs their feet washed by their brothers and sisters in different ways during different times and seasons.
Designed for one-anothering
So you can see each person has both the role to wash and be washed. The family of God was designed to operate by this one-anothering. Any relational environment that doesn’t feel like this is being built on the wrong foundation and, in my opinion, should be abandoned as quickly as possible.
One-anothering relationships exhibit what it means for Christ to practically be the foundation of life together. It’s a commitment to this first and foremost that makes a group of people the most powerful to provide consistent and continual cleansing after being touched by the world.
It’s out of these types of relationships that you will see the power of God most manifest itself.
Nee goes on to say…
Please remember that this refreshing is mutual. “Wash one another’s feet,” Jesus said. The refresher must expect also to be refreshed by others. Many a time the Lord may use you, but equally, many a time He may use someone else to refresh you.
There exist no chosen few set apart for a spiritual task as “refreshers,” just as none of us are absolved from walking through this world and needing therefore to be refreshed.
Unity through mutual foot-washing
As we stoop to the ground for one another to grab the towel, we provide cleansing to each other. This is the foundation of healthy church life.
Creating an environment that has overcome the world takes the kind of unity that is only brought about by the foundational posture and attitude of mutual foot washing. This is the secret weapon of divine life that has the power to cleanse us from the effects of the world’s system we experience in this life.
No one ever gets to a spiritual level in this life where they don’t need it.
This is the seventh post in the Enemy Blueprints series. Go here to read the rest of the posts in the series.