I Am Not The Christ (And neither are you): John 1:19-20

I am not the Christ John the Baptist

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19-20

I have failed as a leader. As a father, most importantly, and also as a leader in the fire department. Many of the scraps of wisdom you read on this blog come from my failures. I offer what I offer so you don’t have to fail where I did. You can learn from experience but it doesn’t have to be your own. I invite you to learn from mine. And this idea that I am not the Christ, that was one of my greatest failures of all.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself right now, “That’s not a problem for me. Of course I know I’m not the Christ.” If that’s you then let me just say, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about intellectual understanding. I’m talking about behavior. In my case, I was one of those people: a type A personality. I tried–to the point of exhaustion–to be the rising sun of my organization and my family: simultaneously.

It doesn’t work.

I can tell you (because I’ve lived it) that when you forget you’re not the Christ you’ll fail. More specifically, you’ll tend to experience the following 5 problems:

  • People around you will burnout
  • People around you will be unclear about your direction
  • Your creativity will suffer
  • Your decision making will suffer
  • Your own awareness of your weaknesses will erode (Brown)

You’ll ultimately become unhealthy, either emotionally, physically, or both.

All of these problems will effect the relationships around you. In other words, paradoxically, forgetting you’re not the Christ will cause you to become most un-Christlike.

And freely confessing you’re not the Christ, is the path to living a life free of stress and anxiety. The free-ist way to live is to walk through life with a deep sense of your need for Jesus’ help. When you live like that the weight is lifted. When you live like that you’re living with no expectations. When you live like that the congestion in your heart and head washes away and God’s Holy Spirit is better able to flow through you. John the Baptist lived life this way. It was one of the great secrets to his power. John the Baptist is one of the greatest heroes in all of the Bible because he realized he was not the Christ.

He realized he was not the Christ, and he made his whole life about pointing people to the Christ. And pointing people to the Christ is the very purpose of God’s Holy Spirit. (John 1:15)

So if you want the Holy Spirit flowing through you, do what John did and recognize you are not the Christ. If you want to be great do what John did, live your life in a way that points people to Jesus, while recognizing: you are not Him.

Confess to yourself,

and confess to the people around you:

I am not the Christ.


In Matt Brown’s excellent blog post, How To Fail As A Leader, he lists some questions that might provide helpful indicators as to whether or not you’ve forgotten that you are not the Christ:

  • Are you in a pattern of taking a Sabbath day once a week?
  • Do you take yourself too seriously?
  • Do you take vacations?
  • Do you have hobbies outside of work?
  • Do you have friends outside of work?

To learn more, go to Matt’s article, How To Fail As A Leader, at the thinke {think eternity} blog

Image via Mayr – Creative Commons

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