Friday, November 30, 2012

My projects or His purposes?

"St. John the Baptist Sees Jesus From Afar" 
- by James Tissot
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 1:29-42

TO CHEW ON: "'I did not know Him but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.'" John the Baptist in John 1:31

John's career choice as a baptizer was not some random job that came out of a brainstorming session with his high school counselor. It was a God-inspired career the main purpose of which was to introduce Messiah. It was the curtain rising, the drum roll on Jesus, the Lamb of God.

John tells us plainly how it worked:
"I did not know Him but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water....I did not know Him but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit' and I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God!" John 1:31, 33-34.

John, the writer of this gospel, doesn't describe that baptism but Matthew does. In fact, it seems John the Baptist had no clue who the person would be. For when Jesus asked John to baptize Him John "...tried to prevent Him saying, 'I need to be baptized by You and are You coming to me?'"

However, Jesus insisted and immediately after, "... the heavens were opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him" Matthew 3:14-17

How exciting it must have been for John to see what God had told him secretly happening before his eyes and everyone watching. How fulfilling to know that he was God's instrument and his life was furthering God's eternal purposes.

Isn't that what we as Christians all want — to know that our actions, words, and lives have accomplished something significant and lasting because they were God-centered and aligned with what God was doing?

In Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby says:
"To live a God-centered life you must focus your life on God's purposes, not your own plans. You must seek to view situations from God's perspective rather than your own distorted human outlook.

[...] God never asks people to dream up something to do for Him. We do not sit down and dream what we want to do for God and then call God in to help us accomplish it. The pattern in Scripture is that we submit ourselves to God. Then we wait until God shows us what He is about to do, or we watch to see what God is already doing around us and join Him" - Experiencing God Workbook
, p. 33-34)
How do I rate here? How do you? Are we dreaming up projects and asking God to bless them? Or are we waiting for God's explicit instructions or joining Him in His work already in progress?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be God-centered with my life focused on fitting in with Your purposes and exalting Jesus.

MORE: The Feast of St. Andrew

In today's reading we read that a man named Andrew was in the crowd. He was so impressed with what he saw, and with Jesus, that he ran to find his brother Peter, greeting him with the words: "We have found the Messiah." Then he brought Peter to Jesus and so began some eternal relationships.

The liturgy for the Feast of St. Andrew begins with this collect:

"Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give us, who are called by your Holy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

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