In one's search for significance, it's important to know who you are not. Understanding this is essential in determining the actions one takes in life. In one's formative years, one's identity can become clouded in efforts to emulate a personal hero or "idol". I remember as a young teen trying to mimic Rod Laver's superior finesse on the tennis court, or pretending to be USC (South Carolina) guard John Roche setting up for the perfect basketball shot. Unfortunately I was not as successful in sports as those I venerated.
One of the dangers during this time is when one's moral compass is compromised by the influence of hero's, peers, and movie stars, etc. In one's life journey, one may follow a well-worn path that leads to disappointment and sorrow. Many have taken it in the pursuit of self discovery, and many more will experience the same and worse. The influences of drugs, pornography, licentiousness, and the breakdown of the American home have seen many souls follow the path of least resistance leading to a life lacking in the disciplines needed to simply say, "no".
There is another path for one's life that was blazed by the Author of Life Who invites each of us to follow His way. This path is not wide and worn like the other, but it is a beautiful path. His way leads to an abundant life... the abundance is found in Him. He even warned His followers saying, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves." (Matthew 10:16) Doesn't sound like abundant living does it? However, the life He gives frees us from the bondage of the past, providing a life whose significance is not found in social icons, but in the Creator of the Universe (Colossians 1).
John the Baptist knew who he was not: he was not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet. though all of these were incredible compliments to his character. (read John 1:19-36) John's significance was in his life's purpose: to be the voice in the wilderness that points others to the Son of God. I find it intriguing that John was in the wilderness. Remember the well-worn path I was talking about earlier? Well, that path leads to life's wilderness: disappointment, failed marriages, addictions, personal loss, and many other sorrows of life. Yet, there was John in the wilderness crying out, "Make a straight way for the Lord." John's announcement was a statement of hope for those who wander in the wilderness of life: The Savior is coming, He is the Compass of Compassion Who will lead one to the security of His grace, providing a light to our path back to real significance - found in Him alone.
Once I became a Christian, there were many points of decision to walk His path or to choose my own path. Every time I chose His path there were many blessings. Anytime I chose my own path, it led to disappointment and heartache. I have a Hero now that I seek to copy; One Who made me and designed me for His purposes (read Ephesians 2:10). In Him, the vestiges of a life that walked in darkness has surrendered to the Light of the World and taken on the same pledge professed by John the Baptist to Jesus' followers: "He must increase, but I must decrease."
John demonstrated even in his death his understanding of who and what he was not. He was not of this world and had been investing in his reward in heaven. O Christian, you are not of this world either, if your life is hidden in Christ. Make an inventory of the actions that reveal any worldly affections, declaring Whose you are, while abandoning those same actions and turning back to Christ. Know who you are not.
I am not my own,