FINDING STABILITY IN AN EVER-CHANGING WORLD

‘John replied, “a person can receive only what is given them from heaven”’ (John 3:27)

Fame and notoriety has always been a heady intoxication. However, with the saturation of social media, reality TV and talent shows, the desire to be known has become an overwhelming issue. I’m not talking about mass stardom, but rather the desire to draw identity from what other people (and the more the better) think of you. A few weeks ago I was watching Lego Friends (yep, I know!) with my girls and the episode boiled down to the Lego friends becoming famous via a stage performance they were working on together. In this atmosphere, where the desire for fame is latterly everywhere, John’s words are such a shocking contrast: ‘a person can receive only what is given them from heaven’. When we understand the context of these words they are even more shocking! For a season, John was the new religious fad for the children of Israel. People swarmed to the banks of the River Jordan to see the locus-eating, wild-eyed prophet do his thing. Yet when Jesus came on the scene, like a fading star, John’s ministry waned. But John didn’t put together a plan to revitalise his disciple-dunking ministry. He knew that he had completed his task to prepare the way for the saviour. Job done. Mission accomplished. To live with a John-like attitude, we need to evaluate the affections and desires of our heart. Are we living for fame, notoriety, to be liked or, like John, are we living as submitted servants of Jesus? Living as a servant of Jesus, we can learn something from John’s one-liner. He displays an attitude of submission. He recognises that he is a grace-receiving servant of the king. There is no jostling for position; he’s a servant and he is looking only for what comes from the hand of the King. This attitude brings a stability and peace to life. We’re not rocked when other people suddenly come into the limelight (and we don’t). Rather, this attitude saves us from the neurotic rollercoaster ride of trying to draw our identity and self-worth from the number of friends we have on Facebook or the number of followers we have on Twitter. ‘A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.’

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