Of all the people that graced the face of the earth in his times, John the Baptist attracted and captured the heart of God. Indeed, he was the divinely appointed forerunner to the Son of Go with a specific purpose and calling upon his life. For which reason out of all the dignitaries, famous and well known people of his time and those who made the headlines (for whom God did not hold the same regard as the world does), the word of God came to this virtual hermit of a man in the most hostile of living places – the wilderness.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, God’s word came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness (Luke 3:1-2).
God’s word shunned all these figures of authority and importance who were in their respective places of power exercising their influence. Instead, God chose to speak to and initiate his eternal purposes in a recluse who was virtually unknown to society. Even today, God is neither fazed nor swayed by people’s earthly or natural positions, power, fame or status but works undeterred by anything or anyone (no matter who) in those he chooses, according to His plan and purposes.
You too should not allow yourself to be wowed by what doesn’t wow God. Neither should you waste your breath and get excited by what doesn’t take God’s breath away or excite Him.
John was a man who was seemingly insignificant in the eyes of the world but he took himself and God’s call upon his life with such radical devotion that he rocked his generation.
Until the time of the coming of God’s word to John in the wilderness, it had been a time of preparation for him – a time which he used wisely and effectively. There was nothing more worthy of his time, effort, attention and labour than the calling God placed upon his life. We see later that it was his wise utilisation of this time that made the successful achievement of God’s purpose in John’s life possible.
Of course God had a specific purpose and plan in John’s life that was foretold hundreds of years ago and at the time of his birth too. So does He in yours even though it may not have been foretold on a public stage like John’s. You were chosen and predestined by God before the foundation of this world according to God’s foreknowledge:
For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favour and will, (Ephesians 1:4-5)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Of course God was at work in the life of John according to His purpose and plan. So is He in yours – For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose (Philippians 2:13).
John’s purpose for living was not living per se – he lived for the purpose God had called him to. For this reason John was not attracted or lured by the comforts and niceties of “modern” life but determined to keep his focus squarely on God’s calling upon his life by eliminating all that which would distract or side-track him from that mission.
This guy was unfazed and unperturbed by anything and anyone else but was single-mindedly focused on the call and purpose of God in His life. Neither the authorities, figures, celebrities nor other seemingly important people of his time seemed to faze John. He kept his mind and focus on what God was doing in him making sure he didn’t miss what God wanted to accomplish through him. He made sure that he was more in tune with God than with the world around him and the establishments that governed his days. He made sure he kept his focus and his value system as close to God’s as it was in his power to do so.
He spent most of his life preparing himself for this call and purpose, on the coaching ground so-to-speak. But once the time came, once God’s word came to initiate the work for which he was being coached, he moved with lethal precision and maximum impact.
His was such a radical devotion that it not only stood out from the religious norm of the day like a sore thumb but it yielded immense result too as the impact of his ministry on the masses was far, far greater than any of the religious teachers and leaders of his time.
People from all (literally all) walks of life came to him not only to go through the motions of the ritual of baptism but sincerely seeking guidance and advice. Even those considered irreligious like tax collectors and soldiers sought him out for advice for they clocked, from his life and the favour of God upon him, that he was a true man of God. And all this not only because he was destined for this purpose but he demonstrated radical devotion to it in his life unlike any of the others in his day. (Luke 3:10 – 14)
His was such a deep and radical devotion that he was feared – what he said not only held water but was totally respected. Hence the reason why King Herod could not stand what John openly declared about his act of marrying his brother’s wife and had him imprisoned – John was not one to be messed about and neither was his voice one that could be ignored or disregarded. (Luke 3:19 – 20)
He wielded respect unlike no other of his time and age – Matthew 21:23 – 27. It was not without reason that the Lord Jesus commended John the Baptist categorically stating “…among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11) Phew!
His mission would not have been accomplished with such efficiency and impact had he not been radically devoted to the calling and purpose of God in his life.
God is calling you to a radical devotion to His call and purpose in your life (according to which He is already at work) like that which John the Baptist had. God is committed and can be relied upon to bring the work he has started in you to completion (Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ) but relies on your will and devotion to accomplish it.
God has started a good work in you, He’s at work in your life to will and to act according to his purpose – For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). But all will come to nought if you don’t actively cooperate with Him. It is only your radical (not casual or perfunctory) and active (not lip service only) devotion to Him and His purposes in your life that will bring about its successful accomplishment. Nothing less.
You too have a destiny to fulfil, a purpose God has designed in your life but that destiny and purpose can only be fulfilled with a level of radical devotion on par with John the Baptist’s if it is to have significant impact in people’s lives.
You cannot accomplish God’s purposes in your life with a lukewarm devotion – God is calling you to a radical devotion to Him and His purpose in your life.
Value God’s calling and purpose in your life by actively pursuing it and working with Him as He labours tirelessly to bring it to completion – He is faithful.
Don’t be casual about God’s calling and purpose in your life – be right there at the top of your game.
Don’t undermine, underrate or undervalue His labour in your life – don’t put His labour in your life to waste.