The Power & Paradox of Perception: John the Baptist

An accurate, realistic and balanced view

I don’t know about you, but from time to time I come across people who have ideas about themselves. Such individuals tend to have a view of self that is out of sync with what could be referred to as the reality of reasonable people. They have what can be best described as exaggerated opinions of themselves. At the other extreme, we have people whose view of self is as low as the doormat. More often than not such people end up being exploited, abused, and going through life as perennial victims.

Coming back to those who have rather inflated opinions of themselves, there is a man whose perspective of self and life in general teaches us a great deal on how we should see ourselves. Jesus spoke of this man and said that of all those born of women on this earth, there is none greater him. He was of course speaking about John the Baptist, the herald and forerunner to the ministry of Jesus.

In a previous post I made mention of the fact he understood his role, his location, his purpose, his calling and ministry in God’s kingdom, and strictly adhered to that; finding great fulfilment in pursuing it. At the beginning of his ministry, we find John in an encounter with Jesus (Matthew 3:11-12). He announced Jesus as the one who was to come; who was greater than himself, so much greater that he was no worthy to lace his shoes.

John’s perception and understanding of himself relative to Jesus is, to use a phrase, ‘on the money’. In other words, his opinion of himself was accurate, realistic and balanced. His view of himself is therefore instructive for all of us. As we go through life, in a world of make-believe, smoke and mirrors, exaggeration, spin, massive egos and all kinds of distorted views of self, we will do well to have a John the Baptist perspective of life – accurate, realistic and balanced. This requires both honesty and humility in equal measures.

Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©

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