It’s only day three however my first thought when waking up was realizing I was looking forward to what I would discover in today’s reading. So many times recently, opening the Bible seemed “necessary” and not something I was looking forward to.
What a refreshing feeling… I could even risk calling it revival!
John 1:19-28 (ESV)
The Testimony of John the Baptist
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
- This is John’s testimony
- He confessed, did not deny
- They “needed” to give an answer to [the Pharisee] who sent them
- John considered himself unworthy to even untie Jesus’ sandals
- Much like it says in Revelation 12:11 (ESV) “And they have conquered him [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” Our testimony matters, my testimony matters. Who am I sharing my story and faith with?
- Ever since coming to Christ and even to this day my heart is troubled over wondering “how far would I go for Christ?”. Would I risk my life or my family’s safety if I lived in a persecuted region of the world? I even have the thought “who will I offend” when I wear a Christian T-Shirt in Los Angeles. I fear we (I) in the West have no idea the true meaning of faith. We aren’t persecuted, we are simply judged. And yet it’s so easy to cower to social condemnation and water down my faith in “mixed” company. Am I really “all-in” as I say I am?
- There will come a day, maybe sooner rather than later when we all will be forced to make a choice. A time when we will have to choose sides. It’s happening all over the world and only now is it starting in the United States. Christian business owners being sued, boycotted and forced to shut down, Pastors being told what they can and can’t preach, hate crimes taking place against the church. Am I willing to be labeled a Christian when I stand to lose something for my confession of faith?
- Again I feel some hidden entitlements hiding out in my heart. When I pray is it in a place of deepest humility and overwhelming gratitude that Jesus made a way for me to even go directly to God? Or am I simply whining to Him again about my problems and then judging Him to come through for me in a manner that is acceptable to me? Do I get impatient with His timing? Do I question His ways of answering or not answering my prayers? How much humility do I truly have in the presence of Christ every time I pray?
Wow Lord, I honestly can’t see why I was looking forward to this SOAP endeavor this morning, this cuts like a knife! Truly this is a dross burning moment, as I press into the foundations of our faith I find that I have been living much more “lukewarm” than I ever realized. Sure these issues have pressed on my heart in the past but I can tell even this morning I don’t like putting these questions down on paper. It feels shaming, I’m embarrassed to recognize how easy faith is for us in America and yet if I was honest I would categorize my discipleship journey as one of convenience and complacency. I enjoy the social aspects, I love the music, I appreciate having a gumball machine in the sky, I like the accolades of leading in men’s discipleship ministry, but Lord I fear I’m still only dabbling in my faith. So here and now Father God, at least for today, for this morning… I repent of my fear, of my silence, of my complacency, of my asking “what’s in it for me” instead of “where am I called to meet others for your glory”. I surrender this day Father to your Sovereign and perfect will, continue to break my heart for what breaks yours. And thank You that Your love endures forever.