December 8 Reflections

One of best self-awareness statements in the Bible is in John 1:20. When John the Baptist is asked by the priests and Levites who he was, we are told that John did not hesitate, but confessed immediately and freely, “I am not the Messiah.” I think it would be a good idea every morning to remind ourselves of this; to declare to our own selves, “I am not the Messiah” …I am not the anointed one to save the world and others around me. It would also be good to remind ourselves that our spouses, children, co-workers, bosses, teachers, pastors, leaders are not the Messiah either. Messiah means, “anointed one.” Jesus was anointed to be our chief prophet, priest and king. I am not. You are not. I am not the Messiah. You are not the Messiah.

                A “Messiah Complex” is when a person holds the belief that he/she can save others. John the Baptist clearly believed he could not save anyone. And yet Jesus said about John, “…among those born of women there is no one greater than John…” (Luke 7:28) The greatest human being who ever lived besides Jesus is John the Baptist, but this one says I am not Messiah. I know I struggle with this as a pastor. I begin to think that my words are the words of God and if you just listened to me you could be saved, just by being close to me.  Yet I know my heart. In solitude I say very easily, “I am not the Messiah.” Among others, where shame tends to rear its ugly head, I must be more than I am because I am not enough.  So, I feel a need to brag about myself to prove to others how wonderful I am. If asked the question, are you the Messiah, I might pause, well let’s think about it, maybe I am.  Often a Messiah complex is born out of deep insecurity; never believing you are enough.

                Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”  When I began to brag about myself, even subtly, it is a pretty good indication I am sliding into the Messiah Complex. A false bravado born out of insecurity, that people around me cannot survive if I am not around. I deeply desire the self-awareness to know and to live as one who can say, “I am not the Messiah.” Just not know it but live it. Because there have been times I have been challenged, “you say that you are not the Messiah, but why do you keep acting like it?” Ouch.  What am I called to do? Point to the One who is the Messiah! That is what we are going to think about on Sunday in looking at John 1:6-8.  In training to be a FaithWalking coach a piece of wisdom that resonates in my heart and is emphasized throughout the material is this: “I cannot fix you. The only thing I can do is love you well which empowers you to fix yourself.” Added to that I think is this: I am not responsible for you; all I can do is love you well empowering you to take responsibility for your own life. I do not control you; all I can do is love you well empowering you to seek self-control. Some passages to read for Sunday:  John1:1-14; John 1:19-23; John 3:22-30; John 1:29-31; John 16:12-14.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn