walk in the word
25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. —John 1:25-28
John the Baptist had quite an accurate self-concept. He knew he was the Lord’s unworthy messenger. Do you understand that about yourself? Even at our best, we are all His unworthy messengers.
When I was a little kid, I took piano lessons from a girl named Ruth. I was eight; she was probably twenty-two. But I had a wide-eyed, crazy crush on her. I didn’t want to take piano lessons, but I sure wanted to learn the piano from her—and she was such an encourager. I was soon thinking I was the best piano player in the world! Certainly her best student. So when she announced we were going to be having a piano recital, my first thought was, Of course! She wants to show me off to people!
The song she assigned to me was called “The Little Ballerina.” And . . . I did not want to disappoint, so I practiced a lot! That evening I discovered I was her youngest student. I had to sit there while the older students played Chopin, Beethoven, and Mozart. By the time it was my turn, I was completely intimidated. I messed up almost immediately. Ruth came over and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “it’s okay.” So I tried again…then hung my head and sobbed at the piano. They took me back to my seat. (Thank you for your sympathy. I can assure you I’m over it.)
My problem was thinking I was good because of the standard to which I was comparing myself—me. I hadn’t heard anyone else play.
Now the problem with a lot of Christians is that we compare ourselves to others, instead of comparing ourselves to Jesus Christ the Lord. John was articulate, talented, powerful, persuasive, brilliant—and massively humble, because he had his eyes on the Standard. He realized he had nothing to brag about, nothing to be super-inflated about. And about Jesus, John said, I’m not even worthy to take His sandals off. That’s helpful to me.
You don’t know who you are until you know who Jesus Christ is. He is the reference point for everything. Who are you comparing yourself to? Make the adjustment now. Jesus is the Christ. I am His unworthy messenger. What about you?
Father, John the Baptist was truly amazing and humble. He knew his place. I so want to know and settle into mine. Use my life as You intended to use it when You created me. Don’t let me compare myself or my work for You with anyone else’s. Help me to exult in the truth that I’m an unworthy messenger, but I have a Savior and a message that is so worthy! Thank You Father, for being willing to use this unworthy messenger in Your kingdom work. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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