Camping, Locust, Honey and Camel's Hair

Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. - Matthew 3:4-6

I have always been intrigued by John the Baptist. He was a cousin to Jesus and lived most of his early life in obscurity in the Judean desert. However when he was about 30 years old the Word of God came to him initiating his ministry (Luke 3:2). All of the sudden here was this weird guy wearing camel hair clothing, camping in the desert, and eating bugs and honey and telling people to repent for the Kingdom of heaven was at hand. The remarkable thing is people came to him and listened to him. They confessed their sins and he baptized them. 

John the Baptist was remarkably different from the religious leaders of the day who lived in fine homes and wore the best garments.  In fact, you could say he was pretty weird. Imagine meeting him. It would be like meeting some mountain man who wore buckskin and lived off the land. But God used him to pave the way for Jesus’ ministry. The remarkable thing is people were intrigued by him and came to see him. They heard his message and repented. Certainly some came just to see the spectacle that he was and didn’t repent, but many did. 

It is interesting how God uses the different, or weird people to bring about truth and change. Sometimes it takes what the world would seem as weird to bring truth to light. This should be encouraging to us to embrace the weirdness of being a christian. The world tells us that we have to conform to its standards of normal to be acceptable but God graciously calls us out of that and transforms us into something incredible, more like Jesus, and that makes us acceptable to Him. 
I love what Paul tells us in Romans 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. What he is saying is we need to embrace the weirdness of being different because we are if our faith is in Jesus. He has made us different. And we don’t need to be afraid of what others think because that really doesn’t matter. What matters is what God thinks. And we also need to trust that God uses our “awkwardness” as christians to show others how good and amazing trusting in the Gospel is. 

God used a guy that wore camel’s hair clothing and ate bugs and honey to announce the coming King Jesus to the world. If he can use someone as strange as that don’t you think He can use you and me to make much of Him also? I am not suggesting you start wearing camel skins and eating bugs. But just maybe we should embrace our identity as followers of Jesus by being different from the world. And just maybe God will use us too to share truth that changes eternity for someone else. 

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