Monday, October 31st, 2016
Suffering (Part 35)
Self-Denial: John The Baptist
This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?' And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, 'I am not the Christ'... It is He Who comes after me, the thong of Whose sandal I am not worthy to untie..
John 1:19-20, 27 (NASB)*
He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?'
Luke 9:23-25 (NKJV)
When a young AMTC staff member told us she was planning a mission trip, we were delighted and asked the details. It's The World Race, a major commitment: not a week or two, but eleven months. She's traveled from country to country, without anything familiar to her: car, bed, food, friends, things, routines or comforts. She's sacrificed everything she once knew to follow Jesus and help the poor. She's denied herself in ways I haven't. I'm humbled by Alex and those like her.**
Most Bible heroes blazed a homeless trail, only to find a better home in God. Like John the Baptist, a powerful man: God's opening act in the big Star's show. John was an eccentric desert-dweller; a locust-eating cultural dropout, who preached with an in-your-face honesty. While his fame as a prophet was spreading, John refused any credit or glory. He denied himself and affirmed his Lord.
Actors, models and talent for Christ. I would be a self-serving hypocrite if I told you I've died enough to self. I've got work to do and high hopes for you: That in spite of media's attractions, offering golden tickets and tokens, you will lower yourself face to the floor, especially when you are succeeding.
I love you for denying easy lives: not settling in comfy cozies with kin, but walking faith-first into media. While Alex travels the world's mission fields, you're doing the same in a wondrous way. Rather than focusing on gifts to self, you're focusing on God's Gift to the world: to unwrap and distribute His Good News.
To Be Continued...
* The Testimony of John, John 19:1-34: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+1%3A19-34&version=NASB
** AMTC's world missionary is Alex Keeley. She's got a big intellect and a bigger heart. She's a writer, photographer and videographer. Alex took a journey that changed her life forever: http://alexkeeley.theworldrace.org/?category=The%20Race
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.