John 1:6 “There was a man sent from God whose name was John.”
This simple verse tells us a lot – it tells us that the man we know as John the Baptist somehow stood out. It was obvious to others that he was sent by God. In retrospect, knowing the full story, we can see how he paved the way for the coming Christ.
However, if John appeared on the scene today, I’m pretty sure we’d all think he was whackadoo. After all, he was a loner, speaking against the establishment, telling everyone to repent.
Sometimes the scariest thing about following God is a fear that we, too, might look like a whackadoo.
How do you know if God is calling you?
1. It makes sense in your life. Even before he was born, John was testifying to Jesus. Jesus’ brothers and mother thought he’d gone ’round the bend at one point, but the scripture doesn’t show us that about John. It made sense for John to speak out as he did. Even for those of us who are called to something radically different than we’ve done before, God uses the basic makeup of the person He created. You were born with innate strengths and talents. What God calls you to will be in line with who He created you to be.
2. Confirmation. Like I mentioned above, if someone acted like John today, we’d all be (at best) skeptical. Yet, people flocked to the desert to hear what he had to say. People came in droves to repent and turn their life around. They wanted to get right with God and John spoke in a way that made sense to them. Just because people follow you doesn’t mean you are right, but John was honored and respected by people from all parts of society – they confirmed his calling.
3. Culturally Relevant. Baptism was something that made sense to the people of the time. In fact, John’s whole approach made sense to the people. When God wants to reach someone, He goes over and above to make sure they hear Him in a way that makes sense. It had been many years since a prophet had spoken for God, but the people were ready to hear what John had to say.
4. Opposition. Sometimes, people feel called by God and push forward, thinking that opposition is the real proof that God has called. If all you face is opposition, and no one backs you up, you might want confirmation you’ve been called. However, when God calls us, we do face opposition. John’s opposition came primarily when he called Herod out on his sin.
John the Baptist was so effective that people from all over the known world seem to have been impacted. When Paul went to Ephesus, the people there had received “John’s baptism, the baptism of repentance.”
What if John was afraid to step out, afraid he’d look odd? What if he heard God’s voice, but didn’t have the faith to step out? John played a vital role in the spread of the gospel, preparing hearts to receive the new work that Jesus was about to do.
Has God called you? Do you wonder if He spoke and you are afraid to act? Here are a few steps to push you in the right direction:
1. Ask for Verification. When I think God has spoken to me, I act when He confirms it three ways – once through scripture, once in my heart and once through the mouth of someone else – none of which are initiated by me (because I’m very good at getting myself, scripture and others to agree with me LOL).
2. Wait. Humility means that you don’t step out and try to make things happen. You move when God says to, and you wait until He says go. Many of us are great at hearing what God is up to, and then making it happen ourselves. The outcome of this behavior is as old as Abraham and Sarah.
3. Act. When God directs, step out in boldness. Love others boldly along the way, and if they don’t agree with you, love them more. God-sized issues take God-sized solutions. Be bold.
4. Get support. Elijah shows us what happens after we step out boldly. Someone will want our head, and we will be so emotionally spent, we’ll want to hide. Get others around you to walk with you so that you will be reminded that true deliverance comes from running back to the mountain of God.
You were put on earth for a reason. God will call you to God-sized situations, and give you the tools to do what He asks. Will you step out?
There was a person called by God – and her/his name was _______. Will this be you?