John the Baptist was a master at editing his life down so only Christ remained evident to others. He wore clothes made from camel hair with a leather belt and ate locusts and honey (Matt. 3:4). He did not worry about having a nice building to accommodate the crowds that came to hear him preach. His message cut to the point: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 3:2 NIV) – simple words that easily fit into a text message or Twitter post.
John’s life was not cluttered with things that confused his message. He did not try to impress people, rather he tried to impress upon them the need to repent of their sins and prepare for the coming of Jesus. In Matthew 11:8-10, Jesus points out that the people did not come to see John dressed in fine clothes, they came to see a prophet. People traveled into the hot and dusty desert to hear John’s message, not to see his outfit, sit in a beautiful building with air conditioning, or dine on locusts and honey with him.
Many of the people that crowded around John in the desert were tired of trying to impress others with their deeds and appearances. They were hungry for a message of true repentance that would free them from the burden of their sins. John focused on their spiritual need for a savior. He pointed them away from himself and toward Christ. In Matt. 3:11 he explains how one is to come who is more powerful than him, how he is not fit to carry his sandals. John’s life was edited down so only the message of Jesus came through each day.
As a follower of Jesus your greatness and your identity is not in this world. John continues to show us true life is in Christ. Jesus commends John saying, “There has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” He goes on to say that we have the potential to be greater than John, that “he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11 NIV)
© 2010 CGThelen
#Retrospective: This post originally published March 4, 2010.
15 thoughts on “A Character for Christ”
These days we try and add as much as we can to our lives, to fill in all our time with ‘productivity’. What of stillness? What of prayer? What of listening to the Lord?
I’m working to live as John did, to proclaim the good news of Jesus.
Thank you for sharing this.
Stillness, prayer, listening to God… Good things to pack for life’s journey. Thanks for the comment. Blessings.
Excellent post and wonderful reminder that even though we live in the world, we are not of the world. Blessings, Brother CG!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you as well!
Not to impress but to impress upon…good word! 💚
Thanks. Praise God for his Word! Blessings.
Blessings to you too! d
I agree with Sue. One of the great things about your blog is you do not mince words. I also like how you often bring a fresh angle to a familiar story. I’ve never thought about discipleship (becoming more like Christ) being like editing. Showing less of me and more of Christ is a moment by moment struggle, but possible thanks to the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for your blog ministry. I enjoy your posts!
Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate you reading and commenting. Praise God for His Spirit to guide us in our daily struggle to be more like Christ. Blessings
True, we are not to strive for greatness! We are to work toward being “Like Christ.” Blessings!
It is a daily challenge to live Christ-like and not like the world. Thanks for the comment. Blessings to you as well.
“John’s life was edited down so only the message of Jesus came through each day.” May that be our desire, know Him and make Hi;m known.
I like this. Simple and to the point.
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