Know Who You Are Not
In John chapter one, the crowd around John the Baptist was getting larger and larger. The Pharisees sent some representatives to John and began to ask him a few questions. “Who are you? Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet?” (John 1:19-21). As we read John’s response, it is clear that John knew who he was not. John knew that he was not the Christ. Although John was sent in the “power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17), he knew he was not Elijah. Although John was truly the last of the Old Testament prophets, he knew that he was not the prophet that Moses had prophesied about (Deut. 18:15). No matter what your calling may be, it is important that you know who you are not. No doubt you have at least one person that you look up to and a few that you are influenced by, but if you were to take a brief examination in the mirror, you are not that leader or mentor. No matter how great they might be, God has not called you to be them. He has called you to be you.
Know Who You Are
Within the same context, John the Baptist is asked a very soul-searching question. “What do you say about yourself?” (John 1:22). One of the most important truths that a disciple of Jesus needs to know is who God has called him to be. John’s response to this question: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness …’ ” John knew who he was. Later in John chapter 3, when the crowds were leaving John and beginning to follow after Jesus, he once again reminded his disciples, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but ‘I have been sent before Him.’ ” (John 3:27-28.) John knew who he was. May we stop trying to be who we are not and simply be who we are called to be.
Fulfill Your Calling
Since John knew who he was, this freed him to simply do what he was called to do. We know that John was called to “make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23) and that was exactly what he did. When the crowds were gathering to him, he knew who he was — he was not the Christ. When the crowds were forsaking him and beginning to follow Jesus, he knew who he was — he was not the Christ, but he was sent before Him. I believe that this truth can be very freeing. Think about it. When the crowds began to forsake John and follow after Jesus, how easily bitterness, jealousy, or pride could have taken over John’s heart. Yet, when we read over John’s life, we see a man that was content. Instead of comparing or being jealous, we find a man who rejoiced in what he was called to do and rejoiced in what God was calling others to do. John’s true heart came out when he declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
God has called you. He is not looking for someone else. He is calling you to be faithful to what He has given you to do. If you find yourself prone to look over “there” and see how God is working through “them,” may God give you a heart like John the Baptist — rejoice in what God is doing through them. On the other hand, consider the following question, “What am I doing with what God has given me?” Seek to be who you are and to be faithful with what He has given you to do.
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