“Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’” (John 1:22)
My husband loves people and has an uncanny ability to tell a lot about them from his first impression. He never meets a stranger and enjoys talking to everyone. Even though I’m reserved, my husband helps me feel more relaxed when I meet people. I find that it’s a lot easier for me to handle the conversation if I’m introduced and given a little background information.
I’ve met people who start talking as soon as I say, “Hello.” Sometimes it may take a question to get them to start talking, but then, they won’t stop. People like these give me a pretty good sense of their lives.
Today’s scripture passage made me think of meeting someone for the first time. Of how easy it is to make snap judgments and have preconceived ideas about other people before they utter one word. How often are our first impressions about them incorrect?
How do you respond when someone asks you to define yourself? Many of us immediately start talking about our job title, role in our family, church affiliation, or social activities. Have you ever been ashamed of your life and “embellished” parts of it? Do you make excuses instead of acknowledging your truth?
Really, who are we? When we are alone, quiet our minds, and let our bodies become still, what are we saying to ourselves? Are we honest? Or have we started to believe the lies we tell?
Likewise, whenever we listen to the opinions of other people and allow them to speak hurtful words to us, we risk believing horribly untrue things about ourselves.
That’s why it’s so important to know what God says about us. We need to learn to make His word our final authority.
He tells us that we are good because He created us in His image (Genesis 1:26, 31); that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14); that we have a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11); that His strength is all we need when we feel weak (II Corinthians 12:9); and that even though we are hard pressed on every side, we are not defeated (II Corinthians 4:8-9).
Should we trust the things in scripture? Or believe the lies coming from a defeated mindset? Will we allow God to guide us? Or will we continue to look for other things to fulfill us? How can we understand that only God’s love will bring total peace and healing to us?
John the Baptist was secure in his relationship with God. He didn’t shy away from his role as forerunner to Christ, and he was able to point others to the promised Messiah when Christ came to be baptized (John 1:19-34).
Our lives should also point others to the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t have to climb on a soapbox and start preaching to the whole wide world, but we do have a responsibility to live in such a way that others notice the difference. God will give us opportunities to share our faith and the confidence to do so whenever He provides the chance.
Let’s pray for the courage that John the Baptist had and never shy away when we are asked about our faith or our trust in Jesus Christ. May God help us and give us the words to share His love for this hurting world.