Monday, 5 August 2013
Running with Giants - John the Baptist
Know your purpose and know your calling.
One day back in March I received an email newsletter from our church announcing that they would be doing baptisms and I just casually mentioned it to the Jord:
"Hey Jord, do you want to get baptised?"
"Yup! What does baptised mean?"
"Erm... Well. It's something that the Bible tells us to do when we ask Jesus into our hearts and it's kind of like Jesus giving our spirits a bath. Pastor Steve will dunk you under the water and when you come up all your sins are washed away and Jesus has made you into a new person."
"Ok, cool! How long will he hold me under the water?"
Don't you just love the way things are that simple for kids? They live in a world that is totally black and white, no ifs or buts!
John the Baptist was kind of like that.
He lived out in the middle of nowhere, wearing camel haired clothing and eating locusts dipped in honey. And apparently this was pretty radical even for those times because it attracted a lot of attention. He would stand in the river calling people to be baptised, telling them: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) The Bible tells us that everybody in the region went off to see John and be baptised.
The world was black and white for John and he knew his place in it. In John 1:19-29 he states that he is the person that Isaiah was talking about: I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'
He's coming, are you ready? Are your hearts in the right place to receive His love? Your Messiah stands among you, is your heart clean? Have you confessed your sin?
He knew who he was. And that is the point of yesterday's sermon: If you want to run with giants, you need to know who you are in God.
If there is one thing I've learnt in my walk it's that who I am is not the person that everybody else sees. Believe it or not, with my warped perceptions of the world around me, who I am is not even the person I believe myself to be. The absolute truth is that who I am is how God sees me: precious, worthy, valued.
He is the Rock and my firm foundation and only His love is unchanging. Only His eternal perspective is solid enough to be relied upon. And only His opinion matters.
John the Baptist knew who he was, he knew what his purpose was and what his calling was. His purpose was to point the way to Jesus and his calling was to preach. To be that voice calling in the wilderness. Regardless of whether what he was saying caused crowds to flock around him, or whether he was imprisoned (and ultimately killed), he stood firm in his belief. Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah.
Do you know what your purpose is? Do you know your calling?
As a Christian your purpose is the same as mine: to know God and make Him known.
We are charged with spreading the Gospel. Our job is to point the way to Jesus. Within our spheres of influence there are people who don't know the love of God. Who don't understand what Jesus did for them. We are meant to be the ones who cry out to them, sometimes gently, sometimes loudly, always, always demonstrating God's gentleness and goodness and mercy and grace.
Your calling is the unique individual way that God has equipped you to fulfil your purpose. Everyone of us has a gift or a talent that can be used to point the way to Jesus. If you don't think you have one, you just haven't discovered it yet. Keep looking.
My first sphere of influence is my family. As a mother I am charged with the mission to point my kids to Jesus, which is why The Jord's baptism was one of the most profound moments of my life. I didn't realise just how much it would impact me on an emotional level watching my baby publicly choose Jesus.
And since that day I have watched miracles happen around him. My neighbour came rushing over to knock on my door the one day and tell me that she had just walked past The Jord on the sidewalk as he was walking his friend home from school. She, a non-believer, congratulated him on his baptism and as she was walking away she overheard a conversation that made my heart burst with pride. His friend asked him what a baptism was and The Jord proceeded to matter-of-factly explain how Jesus died on the cross for our sins and by getting baptised he was telling the world that he belonged to Jesus.
My beautiful, beautiful boy. I am so, so proud. And I am glad that God put you in my life so I can point the way for you.
You can find and listen to the sermons here.