“John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.” (John 1:26)
Often there are champions of faith and chosen vessels standing among us that we do not know. Greatness in God is often looked for in the spectacular. A showman. A celebrity. A popular personality. A charismatic personality.
I have trained myself to see greatness in obscure vessels. A selfless mother and housewife. A praying grandmother. A quiet old man whose quiet demeanor and actions teach us so much. A little boy with a bright spirit. A husband who is a rock to his wife and children.
Let’s look with eyes that see and behold the wise and mighty among us. You’ll have to look with the eyes of your spirit. They often come in obscure and unappealing vessels.
I see Christ in what the world calls small and insignificant people and things.
“Many who are great in the sight of the Lord are living in cottages and hovels, and are scarcely known, unless to a few neighbors equally obscure.”(William Jay)
Believers need a baptism of clear seeing and holy discerning. Our motives need refinement.
LEARN GOD’S WAYS
Before me now I see the impression I saw years ago. There were two scenes. One is of a clear and sunny horizon lined with an endless row of people. The other is of a vast forest. Dense fog covers the forest, and out of the fog comes the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ, for the most part, is not found among the general populace. People have to really look to recognize Him.
Think about it. Our Savior was not born in a big metropolis, but in the small town of Bethlehem. And He grew up in the despised country of Galilee. He was not born in a palace where kings are, but in a lowly stable. The wise men had to really search and diligently follow the star to find Him. When Jesus entered into ministry, it is written that He had no place to lay His head (Lk 9:58). He did not have a ministry headquarters. He died a criminal’s death on a cross, naked and nearly alone. His grave was a borrowed tomb. His throne was an invisible one hidden from the multitudes of those who were healed and delivered through His ministry. He was called meek and lowly; certainly not the description fitting for a king. But today, ministry is so different.
WE ARE OFTEN FOOLED BY THE BIG WHILE BEING OBLIVIOUS TO THE SMALL
Just because someone or something is big doesn’t mean it’s godly (and it is also understood that bigness is not tantamount to ungodliness either). In fact, it’s a greater test of our devotion to be big (whatever “big” means to us) and yet remain holy, than it is to be small (whatever “small” means to us) and holy. And let’s not forget that smallness is not equivalent to godliness either. Discerning the difference between hype and holiness is what’s important. But we are so often fooled by the “big” while being unaware and undiscerning of the “small.”
Holiness is not only sought but bought: “Buy of Me gold tried in the fire that you may be rich” (Rev 3:17). Have you been tried in the fire? Have you tested your teachings? Have you experienced and even suffered for the truth you believe? Truth is to be bought, not sold. We sell the truth when we sell our souls to pleasure, profit, and earthly popularity. We buy the truth when we are tried and found true, when we suffer with godly sorrow the pains of our personal Gethsemanes, and yet remain private about them. When we allow God to strip us of all glory seeking and subtle pride, we are buying the truth.
Too many ministers today are selling messages they never bought. When we minister forth from what we’ve personally experienced or suffered, the Spirit will produce a far greater effect of holiness in the hearers. The deeper the suffering is, or has been; usually the more perfect the obedience. The more fiery the trials, and the deeper the burning, the purer and the richer the vessel becomes.
This is what we must understand: God’s measuring gauge and standard of holiness is so different than man’s. Bigness and smallness are terms not found in Christ. Here is the criterion for holiness: Is Christ made visible? Is He seen and heard? Is the ministration of Christ being imparted? Is His word being made manifest? Are the people changed more into His likeness? Is it producing a spirit of holiness and an increase in the fruits of righteousness? Are they paying less credence to men and personalities and reverencing God?
(Part of this excerpt was taken from my book, PURITY OF HEART, a rare find that carries the spirit of the old timers who understood these things).