Of the many wise things my pastor (Louie Giglio) shared with us on Sunday, I was particularly struck by this one:
“The Word of God moves us along toward the way things are supposed to be.”
As we spend time in the Word, we deepen our relationship with God and learn how to live life the way He intended. In other words, we begin to participate in restoring beauty.
I came away from this sermon on Sunday with a renewed conviction to be intentional about spending time in the Word. I confess that it’s something I struggle with doing consistently, but I know its a necessity.
[For my lady friends, if you struggle like I do with consistent time in the Word, I highly recommend the IF:Equip resource from IF. Right now we’re going through Acts, so every day you get an email telling you which portion to read, providing you with a brief video of the passage being discussed by awesome women, and asking some great questions. You can subscribe here. And you can donate to help keep this resource going here.]
Despite my inconsistency, I just finished reading through John (with IF:Equip) and have a number of things I want to share with all of you. It’s so cool what God can bring to mind as you sit and meditate on a small passage of Scripture. I noticed lots of things I’d never noticed before.
Like what John the Baptist can teach me about being fearless.
I’m not sure if he was totally fearless, but he was definitely confident. In Luke, we get to see him calling people out and speaking hard truth… even to the point of getting thrown in jail and losing his head for it. Talk about being more concerned with God’s opinion than man’s!
As I read through the first chapter of John, I’m struck by a number of things about John the Baptist. Each of these are ways I believe he was able to overcome fear and live the life he was called to.
1. He was simply a witness.
John knew that it wasn’t about him. Everything he said and did was motivated by one purpose: to tell people about Jesus.
God gave him a testimony so that others might believe (John 1:6-7) when Jesus came on the scene. It wasn’t John’s job to make them believe. He was given the assignment of simply testifying, telling the story. He wasn’t Jesus. He didn’t need to try to be Jesus. He just had to talk about him.
The same is true for us. We are simply witnesses. We don’t have to make people believe (nor can we). We just have to talk about him. I realize that part can still be scary, but it helps me tremendously to know that I’m not responsible for someone else’s decision. I’m simply responsible for being an obedient witness.
Want to know what the best thing about being a witness is? When people aren’t interested, it’s because they’re rejecting the message, not you! You’re just the messenger.
We can be fearless when we realize it’s not about us.
2. He knew who he was… and who he wasn’t.
In John 1:19-34, John gets questioned by some of the religious leaders. They want to know who this crazy man wearing camel hair clothes and eating locusts really is. He was baptizing and calling people to repentance. The leaders needed to know what they were dealing with.
They try to be subtle with a simple “Who are you?” But John knows what they’re getting at, so he comes right out and tells them that he’s not the Messiah. He goes on to explain his mission by quoting from Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord’s coming!'” Finally, he humbly admits that he’s not even worthy to be the actual Messiah’s servant.
John is acutely aware of his identity, his purpose, and his role. Because of that he can confidently respond when others question him. They might not understand why he’s doing what he’s doing, but he does.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? People probably aren’t asking if you’re the Messiah, but I’m sure they’ve questioned decisions you’ve made that seem crazy to them.
When we’re walking with God, spending time in His Word, letting Him speak into our lives–those are the times we can respond with the same confidence as John. Its in our relationship with God that we learn our own identity, purpose, and role. It is in the abiding that we become confident in who we are.
And when we know that, we can be fearless in the face of others who would seek to define us.
3. He knew when his assignment was complete.
The day after John baptizes Jesus, Jesus walks past again. John points Jesus out to his disciples and two of them leave to follow Jesus. And John’s totally ok with it.
I don’t know about you, but my tendency would be to chase after those disciples and try to win them back. I mean I don’t even like it when my number of Twitter followers drops. How much worse would it be if those were people I knew who just left me behind to follow someone else?
But John lets them go.
Because he knew they weren’t rejecting him. They were doing exactly what he had been preparing them to do. John knew that his job was finished. Jesus was finally on the scene. The way didn’t need to be prepared anymore. It was time to be done.
I don’t really like the idea of my role being at an end. But I’m learning that I need to be ok with it. God has called me to do specific things. And when those things are accomplished, it’s time to put away the work or let someone else take over. I’m only responsible for my assignment: the things God has equipped me for; the tasks He is working with me to accomplish.
And that can make me fearless.