This was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Temple assistants from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” He came right out and said, “I am not the Messiah.” “Well then, who are you?” they asked. “Are you Elijah?” “No,” he replied. “Are you the Prophet we are expecting?” “No.” “Then who are you? We need an answer for those who sent us. What do you have to say about you yourself?” John replied in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!'”
– John 1: 19-23 [NLT]
What I LOVE about this interaction between the religious leaders and John the Baptist, is John’s response to them.
He was doing the work God set him apart for. He was paving the road for Jesus to walk and to start his ministry that would lead him to the cross, and us to salvation. The Jewish leaders were so confused as to what authority was given to John that would validate his position in baptizing people (verse 24-25).
John told the leaders that he was not the Messiah, nor was he Elijah, or even the Prophet they were waiting for. So when they questioned John about where the authority to baptize came from, he answered them with scripture.
See…. John knew exactly what the word of God said about him, and was confident in the scriptures that he allowed it to define his purpose.
When you compare John’s response in verse 23 to the original text in Isaiah 40:3, you will see that John did not answer in a 3rd person voice. John interjected himself into the scripture, becoming one with the very word God planted into his heart. He used scripture to create the definition for his life as well as the foundation to which he lived out his purpose.
The enemy hates this, which is why he will always bombard us with thoughts and images in an attempt to derail us from our purpose in advancing the Kingdom of God:
Sometimes we don’t feel competent enough in the things we want to do, and at times talk ourselves out of them.
We don’t speak up in a group bible study because we are afraid of what everyone else might think about us.
We don’t share our faith with the people around us because we don’t know how they will react and don’t want them to lump us into the category of “Crazy Judgmental Christians.”
We also don’t follow the dreams and desires God gave us because we think we will most likely fail. And sometimes we believe the problems we want to fix are too big, so we “rationalize” that we are insane for wanting to make that difference.
What we need to understand is that God knows that we are more and capable of more than what we believe. The desires that God gives us can always be accomplish. But of course we can’t do them by ourselves because our nature can corrupt the outcome. This is why we need God in the center of the work he wants us to do.
But we also need to know that we can never fully accomplish our role in God’s work if we don’t know God’s heart towards us or what his word says about us. We will always second guess ourselves if we don’t know or believe what God is telling us about ourselves.
God knows our innermost being and placed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13). God knew us in our formless body and he knew everything we would do (Psalm 139: 16). He knew every desire we would have. He knew every path we would take. So why is it so hard for us to actually give everything away to love and follow the one who knows us better than ourselves?
God’s main communication with us is in his word. Yes, it is thousands of years old! But what is so great about God is that he never changes. Everything he declares in his word is the truth that defines our lives today.
Just like John, the definition to our lives will be questioned….. especially when we are doing the work of God. People will try to find out by what authority was given for us to do the things we are doing. But it is a good thing that people are questioning that authority because the answer we give them will be our testimony.
The testimony of God’s people is a powerful thing, because it is our individual stories. No one can argue with what God has done in our lives, showing that we are walking works of art created by a masterful craftsman. We are a piece of art that is being constantly perfected, which will shine through in our testimonies.
To notice the parts of our lives that are being perfected we have to know what scripture says about who we are. Otherwise our eyes will remain closed to all the things God is doing in our lives. Other’s will see the difference and point it out, but we won’t believe them.
God see’s his creation in a positive light (Psalm 139: 17), while we tend to view ourselves negatively. HOW CAN WE NOT! We are constantly hurting people. We are constantly spitting in God’s eye when we choose our own desires over his. We are constantly harming ourselves by turning the the things that hurt us.
BUT GOD STILL LOVES US!!
Jesus died so that our sins can be covered and so that we can be brought closer to God, even in our sinful state. Jesus allowed for God’s desire to be close with his creation to once again happen. Because we are in Jesus, God no longer sees our sin.
This is why it is important to know what God’s scripture says about our identities. The devil is always going to attack us and have our identities in Christ question. The only way to fight back is to use scripture. There will be a constant war over our souls, and our weapon is the word of God. When we are under assault, we have to repeat to ourselves who God says we are.
We have to repeat to ourselves:
I am a conqueror in God’s army! (Romans 8: 31 – 37)
I am a treasured masterpiece that was handcrafted with care! (Ephesians 2:10)
I am a friend of God and Jesus! (John 15:15)
I am a light to a dark and lost world! (Matthew 5: 14 – 16)
I am that one sheep that God is always chasing! (Luke 15: 4 – 7)
I am a vessel for the Holy Spirit to dwell! (1 Corinthians 6: 19 – 20)
I am a child of the Living God! (Galatians 3: 26)
I am set apart to do the work of God! (Jeremiah 1: 5)
Who are you in Christ?
Think and reflect on that question. Define who God says you are through his scripture. Make a list and carry it around with you, repeating to yourself who the word of God is describing. Share a few of those definitions with everyone in the comment section as encouragement.