With every decision you make your heart is either growing or shrinking.

Your life sometimes is a series of tests.

Each test is designed to be more difficult than the last.

These tests allow you to go deeper in maturity with your relationship with God.

Your closeness with God depends heavily upon whether or not you pass these tests in front of you.

Not even Jesus was excused from these kinds of tests. Every chance he got he made decisions that allowed his heart to grow bigger. One of them is found in the gospel of john 13.

John is the author of his self-titled gospel. He was one of the twelve disciples and also had given himself the self-proclaimed title… “The Disciple whom Jesus loved”.

John is the shortest of the four gospels covering perhaps more general ground than the others. Writing to both Jews and Gentiles in the larger Greco-Roman world meets people no matter what road they’re on; whether they’re traveling through Greek philosophy or Jewish tradition. He meets people on whatever highway they’re on and leads them all to the same tunnel at the same time.

A collision with the epiphany that Jesus is the Son of God.

In chapter 13 Jesus, this coming king, Messiah gives us one of his many “how to” examples to follow.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Years ago when I was 25 years old and itinerating to be a missionary church planter and I was speaking at a special event in Osage Beach called Parent Night. Basically, it was a big service for students and all of the parents of the students were invited to come out and attend.

I arrived early to meet with the Pastor and leaders. I set my Bible and notes down on the front row in the sanctuary before joining the leadership team. After we were done praying I went into the sanctuary as the service would be starting soon.

My Bible was gone. The place was packed out with teenagers and their legal guardians. The entire front row was taken up by high school girls. I found that my Bible had been moved down to the end of the row with one seat left. I retrieved my Bible and sat down. When I did, the girl next to me turned and looked at me, I could feel her looking at me. She said, “Hi I’m Cassie, what’s your name?”

I knew what was going on, I was newly married and this was my first chance to break a young girl’s heart. This was the moment they talked about in premarital counseling- the importance making it known you had taken yourself off the market, you were married, done, unavailable.

I thought about flashing my wedding ring (clearing throat) and letting her know we were not on the same level. And then she says, “So, who’s dad are you?”

Ego shattered.

A couple years ago I spoke at a big church in Portland, Oregon. There were two services and in between the services a few people came up to me. One was an older gentleman with white hair dressed well in a tan suit and a bolo tie.

He was a retired navy seal and he said. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I judged you.” He began to explain how when I walked up on stage my skinny jeans and weird haircut he thought how could this kid possibly have anything to say of substance. He said that morning the Lord spoke to him through the message and he was convicted. It took great courage to say what he did to me. It took great humility.

Jesus shows us that serving others and humility go hand in hand.

This does not mean that you think less of yourself.

It means that you think of yourself less. -C.S. Lewis

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. -Philippians 2:3-5

Serving others and genuine love go hand in hand.

But what exactly does that look like?

How do we position ourselves to act humbly?

Take a look at your schedule. Are you doing too much?

Allow Him to free up your time.

Begin placing others first in your day to day.

Think about the needs of others and how you can place them before your own.

Serving others is a better way to live.

Your life is a series of tests.

May you pass all of your tests with flying colors.

May you see the good that comes from thinking of yourself less.

May it be ever so clear to you that with every decision you make your heart is either growing or shrinking.