What are God’s plans for my life?
One thing that stands out in reading the story of John the Baptist, even the angel’s words to his father Zacharias, was that God had a clear purpose and plan for John’s life.
“He will be great in the sight of the Lord… He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
After John is born, his father Zacharias prophesied:
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
God’s purpose for John was clear. Turn the hearts of the people back to God. Make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Give the knowledge of salvation, bring light into the darkness, guide into the way of peace.
Do I know with this much certainty God’s purpose for my life? As a father, like Zechariah, have I given the gift of this certainty to my own children?
One interesting thing I’d never thought of here… John was “filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.” This was really unusual. Before Acts and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, we generally read of the Spirit in terms of the Spirit “coming upon” or “being with” people at specific moments. It’s not until Pentecost that the Spirit comes to dwell inside us. But not for John. He experienced this indwelling from birth, even in the womb. No doubt, this was the source of his confidence, conviction and power!
I can dismiss John’s impact by saying he was a “one of a kind,” never to be repeated. But then I look more closely, and the striking realization dawns on me. What was unusual, unique even for John among all those around him… was the Holy Spirit… and I too have had the Holy Spirit from birth… new birth! What was “unusual” about John should now be “usual” for me and every other believer in Christ.
Just like John, I am filled with the Spirit. The real question is, am I walking in the power of the Spirit? If I am, like John then, I too will be used by the Father to turn hearts back to Him, to give the knowledge of salvation, and to bring light into the darkness!
Oh, Spirit of God, work through my life… work through my wife’s life… work through my daughters’ lives… just like you worked through John!
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