Question – Who are the hardest people to witness to? Your family. My family. OUR families. Those annoying people who know you best and can call you a fake faster than anyone else. Those wonderful people who know EXACTLY who you are when you get in the car to go home from church. How is a person supposed to follow God, allowing change and growth in the Holy Spirit when family members are watching so closely to see if we mess up? In the accounts of Jesus’ youth up to his baptism, we are given some family interactions that allow us to see that Holy Spirit was active in His life, even during these years when no stories were written down in the Gospels.

“Few are chosen…”

Luke 3 says that as John baptizes Jesus, the Holy Spirit fell on Jesus as a dove coming down from heaven. This the defining moment that leads Jesus into his 3 year public ministry and, ultimately, His sacrifice that led to our salvation. In the Bible, we see many callings, for instance, Jeremiah was called before he was born (Jeremiah 1:15), David was anointed at 17 years old (1 Samuel 16:12), Isaiah and Ezekiel both got magnificent visions of God at their calling. However, we look at these examples in the Bible and wonder if it is only for ‘Bible-times’ or if God is willing to use us in a big way too. What are some reasons why we are not seeing a ‘big’ ministry like what we see in the BIble?

First, God’s anointing will wait until we are able to bear the burden of it. The blessing or calling that we long for probably includes burdens and responsibility. John and Jesus both had to wait 25-30 years before they got a Spirit-led, anointed, miracle-causing, sick-healing, taking-on-the-darkness ministry. That is how long it took for their hearts and faith to be ready for God’s working. If Jesus Himself had to wait on the blessing until He could handle the burden of the ministry, how much more do we need to grow to be able to handle God’s anointing? What if the reason you haven’t received a ‘big calling’ is because you aren’t serious enough about following God to be able to handle the responsibilities of it? Few are chosen…because few will wait on God’s timing and will.

Second, God allows us to chose if we will be used by Him. Revelation 3 shows Jesus standing at the door of our hearts, knocking, waiting for us to let Him in our life. It’s our choice to allow God to use us. Yet, the gospel of John says, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power…” Power to be sons, power to make a difference, power to bring God glory… it just has to be chosen. Yet, we don’t want to follow through with that calling. For example – John was beheaded for His stand for God (Mark 6:14-29), while Jesus, as He was about to be killed, still was saying “Not my will, but Your will be done” to His Heavenly Father (Luke 22:24). Are you willing to go that far for God’s calling on your life? Have you surrendered to the will of God? Until you can say that you will go to death if that’s how God needs to use you, then you are not ready for a big calling on your life. Few are chosen… because only a few are willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading as far as John the Baptist and Jesus were willing to follow it.

“All are called..”

Luke 2:52 records Jesus’ youth as a time when “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” John’s youth was recorded in the last verse of Luke 1, where it says, “…the child grew and became strong in spirit ; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.” At Jesus’ baptism, Jesus and John engaged in a conversation about who should baptize whom. When I read this today, I realized that this is a conversation between family members. These guys are the same age, probably spent time together every year during the yearly trips to Jerusalem, they are cousins and they probably grew up close. But why would they argue about who is the leader, actually offering each other the leadership position?

First, they both had a reputation, EVEN in their family, for following God. The argument was not about who was greater, it was about who was lesser. Both Jesus and John were acknowledging that they saw how God was working in the other’s life. One of the characteristics of being mature in the Spirit is humility and giving deference to one another, because our goal is to “keep peace and unity in God’s ministry (Eph 4:2).” Even more that, there was the fruit of good works that showed that the Holy Spirit was working in their lives (Mat 12:33). As I said, I find making a difference to those closest to me to be very difficult. Yet, here we see that if we are living in the Holy Spirit, we will begin to get a reputation among family and others as a follower of God. Our job is to follow God, to grow in the Holy Spirit and God will take care of everything else, including our reputation and how/when our family should be reached.

Second, they had already begin to serve God, even before they got a ‘big’ moment anointing. At the age of 12, Jesus was telling His parents that He needed to be doing God’s work. He had began to follow God as soon as He was able to hear God’s voice. John was learning God’s ways at an early age, as he was isolated in the desert for years. Their reputation with their families were already set BEFORE they were anointed to a big ministry. Neither of them waited until a big moment when God said “Go, change the world.” They just started! They knew they wanted to make a difference and that they wanted to reach people for God.

Look at these stories of John the Baptist and Jesus, look at the people in your life – the Christians we remember are the ones who decided they would live up to God’s leading, quietly and consistently. Family may be a hinderance, because they know us at our worst. But with the Holy Spirit’s power,  They just did the next thing God asked them to do, whether that was talking to the Rabbis in the temple or preaching in the desert or dying for what they believed in. My simple question for you is – how will you make a difference for God? Are you waiting for a ‘big moment’ to witness to those close to you or to live out your faith everyday? Or will you change the world in a small way today? Will you echo Zec 4:6-7, where it says, “Not by might nor by power, but by (the) Spirit” is the reason we move forward with God’s work? Will you wait until a special anointing or will you begin to do God’s work where you are, with you what you have?

Ps. – Don’t forget to read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this series!