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Faith Imagined: April 2008

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

April 2, 2008

The Glory is His Alone

Droves of people are going to John the Baptist -- he is like a super star. People love him and hate him, but they all know about him. He is at the height of his ministry. The power of God lives through him, and he is able to ceremonially wash away the sins of humankind.

But all of a sudden, another man comes along on the other side of the river baptizing the people. John's disciples became distressed. They run to John and say, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan -- the one you testified (claimed to be Christ) about -- well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."

The disciples fear losing the splashes of God's glory that fall upon them while they are obediently serving in God's ministry. Jesus from Nazareth is now receiving the glory (glory that belongs directly to Him) that John's disciples are used to basking in. They cling to that glory; they are desperate to keep it.

But John the Baptist understands, and he knows the process that will ensue. He states, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ' I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride (people) belongs to the bridegroom (Christ). The friend (John the Baptist) of the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less."

Talk about obedience. John is obedient to God's calling to pave the way for Jesus Christ. He is not in it for the glory; he is not in it for the attention; he is not in it for the fame. He is simply obeying God's command for his life. And when his time is up, he does not mourn the passing of his ministry. He is confident that his purpose as John the Baptist is complete.

I am humbled by John's ability to be used by God, but not allow any of his human desire to attach itself to the purpose that God designed. I want to be like that --able to let go of anything that God commands me . . . though, even as I write this, it scares me. To let go of my health, my family or my life for Christ is difficult to even think about.

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