journey through the gospels: Matthew 3

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When I was a teenager, I felt like my life was pretty boring. Up until high school, I had been what most people call, "a goody goody". I almost always did what I was supposed to do regardless of it was in school, with my family, or at church. When I did choose to, "break the rules" it was something mundane- like eating an extra cookie or watching a few more minutes of tv than I was supposed to during the week. Sometimes I got an 87 on my homework instead of a 93... clearly, I was a rebel.


Meanwhile, other kids my age were out drinking, partying, having reckless sex, shoplifting, or even experimenting with drugs. I never wanted to do those things but sometimes I was envious of the people who had done them... or at least done them and then come away from them. Let me give you an example:


one time during an assembly at my private Christian school a certain student got up in front of all of us to share his testimony. He admitted to the crowd that he had slept around with a girl, dabbled in illegal substances, and ultimately eve contemplated suicide. He had us on the edges of our seats as he gave God credit for saving him and bringing him to a better place. He talked about giving up the bad things in his past and giving his life to Jesus. By the end of his presentation, we all had tears in our eyes as we gave him a standing ovation. I remember exiting the auditorium thinking to myself, wow I wish I had a testimony like that.


Instead, I had nothing to share.


Nothing exciting ever happened to me and I was too "good" to do bad things and then be "rescued" from them.


Do you ever feel this way? Often it seems that people who grow up knowing God or in a Christian household view their lives as mundane and in many ways boring. How can I share my testimony when I've grown up loving Jesus my whole life? How can anyone learn anything from my personal story when other people's lives seem so much more interesting?


Allow me to introduce you to John the Baptist. Now if you know anything about him perhaps you are rolling your eyes and saying, "his life was anything but boring! The man was beheaded! If nothing else he had an exciting death!" Bare with me for a moment.


John the Baptist was much like believers born into faith-centered families today. His father was a priest at the temple (ahem, any pastor's kids reading this?) and his mother was a woman of faith. He was born into a life of spiritual purpose yet he never "strayed" from God. The Bible is full of prodigals turned believers- just look at Saul turned Paul or horny King David or cowardly Jonah. Yet John the Baptist didn't have a story like that- and God still used him to do amazing things.


In Matthew 3:13-17 John the Baptist baptizes the Messiah himself. He is a part of the fulfillment of prophecy and he upholds and preaches the coming Savior to all who will listen. John was so impactful in preaching the gospel that many of his own followers left him and followed Jesus once Jesus arrived. John revealed Christ to a world that was desperate for a Savior.


This was his testimony. This can also be your testimony.


We are all sinners though we sin in different ways. We all have life lessons to learn and then share. You do not need an elaborate story or a theatrical recollection of your "aha" moment (the moment you accepted Jesus). People might not clap and cheer when you talk about what you have done with your life- but that doesn't make it any less important. The world judges experience and importance based on worldly standards, but God sees the heart. God knows the people you have blessed and the sacrifices you have made for his sake. God knows the very moment you accepted him into your heart. You don't have to dabble in earthly pleasure and then give it up to have a touching testimony- you are enough as you are.


Jesus says come as you are.


Believe it or not, there are people who need to hear about your "boring" life. There are other believers who have been raised in the faith and also struggle with feeling like they matter. Some times we get so focused on witnessing to the people outside of our faith that we forget to invest in the people within our faith. Personally, as much as I love community outreach, I have always felt a greater burden on my heart for the people already sitting in the pews; the boring people. The people who feel like God loves the prodigals more than them. Perhaps you are called to be a modern John the Baptist- preparing the way for the Lord.


Who in your faith circle can you strengthen this week by sharing your journey? Pray about it and see what God reveals to you.









 

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