A Deadly Dance
"But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, 'Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.' And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus." Matthew 14:6-12
John the Baptist was a man of God who preached the truth. Why do you suppose someone would commit such a barbaric act against him?
John didn't back down from the truth. How could he remain so strong in the face of his adversary--the one he knew would eventually kill him? He had God confidence. John knew that the same God who empowered him with strength to speak out in boldness would also empower him with strength to die without compromising.
John's goal wasn't to make friends. He wasn't focused on being a people pleaser. He was simply committed to God's call on his life. Thank God for pastors, missionaries, and evangelists who are committed to preaching God's truth no matter the cost. Oftentimes, following that call comes at a great price. Yet doesn't it cost all of us everything to follow God?
Luke 14:28 reminds us that it would be silly to build a house without knowing the cost. Likewise, Christ tells us to know the cost of following Him before we announce our plan publicly. He clearly lets us know that being His disciple is an all-or-nothing response. He calls us to follow Him, and we are to do so with 100 percent abandon. And as we do? Our God confidence multiplies!
When Elisha was called to be discipled (or mentored) by the prophet Elijah, he responded in a radical way. "So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant" (1 Kings 19:21).
Elisha didn't want to be tempted to quit and return home, so he destroyed his manner of living. His God confidence had taught him that his heavenly Father would provide all he needed.
Back to John the Baptist. Long before he was thrown into a dark, damp prison cell, John had settled the issue. He knew he would have difficult relationships because of his higher commitment to God. He was okay with being misunderstood and mistreated because of the way his confidence in God was soaring. Sometimes the tough relationships in our lives cause our confidence in God to grow!
Lord. please reveal what Your "good, pleasing, and perfect will" for my life looks like (Romans 12:2). Guide my steps and give me greater dreams than I could ever imagine on my own. Amen.