There once was this girl. She didn’t wear Under Armour or Nike’s. In fact, most of her clothes were from the thrift store. She followed the rules and did her homework. She didn’t ditch class or pass notes. To be honest, she was a little shy, a little weird, and a little bit of an outcast. Most kids in her class didn’t want to sit with her at lunch or hang out at her house on the weekends. It wasn’t that they didn’t notice her. They noticed her enough to make fun of her in the halls. They just didn’t think she fit in.
That awkward, shy, and a little bit strange girl grew up to be a strong woman with an even stronger relationship with God, a loving family, and the guts to think outside the box. You might have guessed that I was that girl… some days… most days I still am. But that isn’t a bad thing. So where am I going with this? This week I want to talk about someone else that was a little weird, a little strange, a little bit of an outcast… John the Baptist.
John the Baptist…Outcast On Purpose
I know that you probably know who ol’ John is and maybe even some of his story, but I bet there’s something about him that you never heard…or maybe you just didn’t believe it. John the Baptist was an outcast and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Yes, you heard me right. HE WANTED TO BE AN OUTCAST! How do I know this? I’ll show you.
Even before his birth, John was different… ok he was really different. First, an angel told his parents they would have a son and even what to name him. How many of us can say that an Angel announced our arrival?Anyways, it doesn’t stop there. The angel (Gabriel by the way… you know the Archangel?) told them that the Holy Spirit would fill John even before he was born (Luke 1:11-17). That is the part I really want to point out. The Holy Spirit was in him BEFORE he was born. So, you can look at it this way, it was ingrained in his DNA, in his VERY being that he was to stand out.
You might be thinking, that doesn’t really mean he would stand out… I know people who have the Holy Spirit. I have the Holy Spirit, right? Well, you’re correct, but very few have ever had full access to the Holy Spirit from birth and if that doesn’t convince you, let me point something else out.
Back in Isaiah (Old Testament) the Prophet Isaiah told everyone about John… yes hundreds of years before he was born. “Isaiah 40: 3 The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.” (DRC).
Isaiah is saying that there will be someone who will live in the wilderness (outside of society… an outcast) and tell everyone and anyone about the coming Messiah, Jesus. This someone is John. In Luke (actually in all four Gospels) we learn that John lived out in the wilderness until he began his ministry. But there’s more (I feel like a game show host).
John refused to compromise who he was or what he stood for.When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to see John, he called them a bunch of snakes! Basically, think about the Pharisees and Sadducees as the popular kids at school. They would probably have like 100K followers or something. Anyway, John didn’t care how popular they were… he just cared that they weren’t following God. He wasn’t about to give them a pass because people looked up to them. They were wrong, and he told them as much. Ok, John didn’t pull any punches with them actually. Check out Matthew Chapter 3 for the story.
The point I am making is this. John chose to remove himself from what was “normal” and live like no one else… not belonging to this world. Now, thousands of years later, we still talk about him. We still learn about him. We are still inspired by him… and do you know why? Because he was different. Because he never hid who he was. He never pretended to be anyone but who God made him to be. He was the ultimate outcast.
So every time you think you’re a little outside the norm, remember John. Remember how you can make a lasting change in this world (and beyond) just by being who God made you to be.
Remember, be real, be authentic, be un-perfectedly you.
How can you live like John right now? How can you be counter-cultural? Maybe you give up a Saturday to clean a park or serve at a senior center. Maybe you tutor a kid that isn’t exactly part of your crew. Use #LivingLikeJohn on Instagram or Facebook and share how you’re being an ultimate outcast. Remember to tag UnPerfectedMinistries!