John the Baptist had a particular ministry, a particular gifting, if you like, just like every Christian born again on the planet.
No two of us are the same. Many similarities, but all unique.
When we observe a particular gifting in another Christian’s life – we admire the handiwork of God. Chiefly we are appreciating the Presence of the Holy Spirit in and upon them.
Regardless of that particular expression, or gifting, it is the Holy Spirit who is the real enhancer, otherwise there is nothing to behold that has any spiritual dynamic in it.
There are some I might notice amongst non-Christians, in the realm of the arts for example, that might solicit my admiration, but I recognise that this is a natural beholding.
There is nothing of God in their gifting. If God is not in their lives, then how can He be in their natural gifting?
It could be said, of course, that the natural ability that someone is born with, or has cultivated, is from God in the sense that God has given life to every living person. But enhancement is a different matter.
An expert swimmer who has won gold medals, if he/she is not in the water then their gift and ability is not in it’s natural environment, where that gift can be demonstrated.
So unless we are in God, and God is in us, then our expression cannot have a spiritual environment in which to be expressed.
We read in Acts 17/27
…though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said,
Paul is saying here that God who is omnipresent, in one sense cannot be avoided, as He fills the whole earth. Even the poets, the non-Christian poets, had grasped this truth.
God sees as no man sees. He sees and hears everything. Even what is gurgitating in every human mind.
God ‘not far from us’ – instructs us that He is not only willing to not be far from us, but wants to be close, very close, so close – He wants to live within us.
But until we recognise ‘The Only Living and True God’ as Jesus Christ The Lord, then we will not ask Him into our lives.
Knowing He is this Only Living and True God is described as: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’. Peter the apostle had this revelation described by Jesus this way:
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
So God omnipresent, – (everywhere) – must be invited into our very beings if He is to save us from this present evil world and if He is to use our natural gifting, whilst imparting also spiritual gifts, as He wills to do so.
I believe natural gifting can be enhanced by God The Holy Spirit and used in His hand.
Also He can impart spiritual gifts, some of which, may or may not be directly linked to natural gifts.
The gift that John the Baptist was given, the ministry that he was given, could be summed up in one word:
Preparation. An ability to prepare others. A preparatory gifting/ministry.
It should be noted that ‘the others’ in response to his ‘preparatory’ message were actually meant to prepare the way for Christ, themselves.
They repented (the preparation + water baptism) – next they must receive Christ as the Messiah.
John was sent to prepare human beings for the coming Messiah. By asking them to prepare the way of The Lord.
When He, The Messiah, came, John was content to ‘fade’, to decrease.
He did not stop functioning nor having pupils whom he continued to teach and guide, but someone far greater than John, came to those that John’s ministry-gifting had prepared to meet Him.
The preparation in the form of sermons delivered to the Jewish population, entailed the response of Repentance and water baptism.
Having obeyed the message of God, given to and delivered by John – each person was then ready for the next spiritual revelation in their life.
They were ready to meet the Messiah.
Are you and I prepared to meet the Messiah?
Even as one who has met the Messiah, am I prepared and ready to meet Him in a new way? In perhaps a small nuanced way? Or in a new major and dramatic way?
Either way – am I prepared?
Are you prepared?
Preparation is spring cleaning the heart, – repenting* – turning away from conscious sin and asking for the Holy Spirit to come to you in the same way He came down upon the Messiah as He stood in the water allowing John to baptise Him. (Matt. 3/16)
1. In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent*, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”