Giving your life is a big deal – but it’s the only thing that really makes sense once you understand the Gospel.
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
In this passage we meet John the Baptist, who lives to point people towards Jesus. He has no possessions of value… he’s walking around eating locusts. I mean I wasn’t around back then, but I can’t imagine that’d be that much more appealing than it sounds. John the Baptist was sent to pave the way for Jesus, and baptise people who became part of God’s family.
When you are baptised, you are making a declaration to people, and to God, that God is God; and that he saves us from our sins through Jesus, the promised one. It’s a big deal – declaring Jesus as your Lord and Saviour; giving up your ‘life’ in exchange for eternity. It’s a big deal turning your back on the life of sin that you’d lead before, and turning to Jesus
who is welcoming you with his arms stretched as wide as the cross. It’s a massive U-Turn, and it ends up changing everything about you.
It’s a cool thing to watch, as a member of the family; people coming home and declaring truth with their lives. It makes sense. Once you understand the truth in your heart, once the Spirit moves, there’s really no other thing you can do. It must have been cool for John the Baptist, getting to see that many people trusting in God and repenting and being baptised. But how different would it be trusting in God before you’d seen his plan? Before Jesus had destroyed sin and death on the cross. Before he died and rose again. Before we knew what was going on.
I still find it hard sometimes to trust that God’s plan is bigger and better than mine possibly could be. I forget that God’s got it, or I arrogantly think I can do it better than he can. Imagine how much harder that would be if we didn’t have the cross to look to (yet). In verses 11 and 12 John tells us that Jesus is coming, he tells us he is great, and a lot of other poetic stuff that sounds cool but doesn’t honestly make a lot of sense to me… but I assume basically means he’s powerful and is going to defeat sin and death. But how hard would it be trusting God’s got it when you cannot viably see how he’s going to sort out the mess. When you cannot see a picture of the cross, the greatest revelation of God’s character of grace.
I am thankful reading this that I am alive now. It reminds me to give up the control I try to take of my life and just look at the cross. It reminds me that I can always trust God. That people have always been able to trust God because he has always been there, always had a plan, and obviously because of Jesus.
Head: Are you trusting him? Have you let Him into your heart – have you repented and turned to Him?
Heart: Think about the ways God has grown and changed you in your life. Think about the points in your life where he’s been working, even before you realised, or turned to him. Think about the cross and how it is the real and trust worthy and viable indication of God’s goodness and graciousness.
Hands: What areas of your life are you not giving to God? When do you still try and do it yourself. Pray about these things, and talk to your brothers and sisters in Christ so they can help you relinquish control.
Prayer: Father thank you. Thank you for the cross, and thank you that I live in a time where Jesus’ death and resurrection have already come to pass. Thank you that I can so clearly see who you are God, thank you for your grace and love in saving me. I pray that you might take my life, and make it yours. Please help me serve you and give you all of me, all of my life. I am sorry that I still try to live my way and think I know better. Amen.
A song to listen to: Jesus, Thank you https://open.spotify.com/track/59pRxzutrxwmP6CNL2eHbU
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of the God With Us – Matthew series. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the Grow Dailys over the years.