My Musings

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Burning and a Shining Light

When John the Baptist walked throughout Israel preaching and preparing for the rise of Christ's ministry, he was a bold, dynamic preacher. He defied the norms of his day, stepped out in obedience to God's call, and preached with power and effectiveness. He sharply attacked the culture of his world and the religious leadership demanding that they repent and turn back to God. He wasn't afraid to be different, to take a stand, to speak the truth.

Christ himself sang the praises of this man's life and testimony when he said, "There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." (Matthew 11:11) This was the epithet spoken by Christ himself and recorded in the eternal Scriptures at the tip of Matthew's pen. This is the memorial that will live on forever. Besides the God-man Christ Jesus, there is none greater than John the Baptist.

So what was the secret key to John's powerful spiritual success? What was it that set him apart from the millions of people alive during his day? The answer to these questions rests in another statement that Christ made when talking about John.

Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. ~ John 5:33,35

The light of John's life was characterized by these two elements: Burning and Shining. John's life was aflame both with a burning, passionate zeal to reach others and with a boldness to preach the truth lighting men's paths back toward God.

The use of the word 'burning' in this verse is so unique. It is used in the sense of setting something on fire, of kindling or starting a fire or, by implication, of consuming. John the Baptist was the very embodiment of the modern adage 'on fire for God.'

When asked the secret of his great ability to attract large crowds, John Wesley replied simply, "I set myself on fire and the people come to watch me burn!" John Wesley had simply discovered the method practiced by another John seventeen centuries earlier and recommended by Christ himself in the fifth chapter of the book of John.

John was aflame with passion, zeal and truth. He had no reservations when it came to standing alone for the kingdom of God. He wasn't afraid. And eventually, his flaming trust in Christ would cause him to face the ultimate test of loyalty. He was 'sold-out' and 'on fire' for Christ in a way that most Christians don't even think is possible.

There is a principle in here somewhere. When you get on fire for God with true passion and zeal, Christ takes notice. So how about it? Why not get on fire for God? Why not let your light shine with the fervor and zeal of a sold-out Christian?



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