Where do you find hope and encouragement? Before I knew the Lord, my hope and encouragement walked hand in hand with my circumstances. When things were going well, I was encouraged, and when they weren’t my depression would worsen, and life was nothing but bitter. As Christians, our hope is in the Lord. It can be easy though, to get discouraged. Even when we know God is on our side. It’s in those darkest moments when our faith is wavering, and we cry out, “Lord, are you there?” that we are hardest on ourselves because of our lack of faith.

I want to encourage you today, my friends, by taking a look at John the Baptist. Jesus tells us, “among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28 NIV). I think most of us would agree John was a man of great faith. After all, his was a birth foretold by God to parents who couldn’t previously conceive. He was filled with the Holy Spirit as a baby in his mother’s womb, and he was the one who prepared the way for Jesus through his ministry and baptized Him. Indeed, I believe we can agree John was a man of great faith.

However, after John had been put into prison he did something we might find odd. He had “heard about the deeds of the Messiah, [so] he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else” (Matthew 11:2-3 NIV)? We know after Herod put John into prison he later had him beheaded. Therefore, John had already baptized Jesus and declared Him to be “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 NIV)! Furthermore, he gave this testimony.

“I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

John 1:32-34 (NIV)

If John knew who Jesus was then why did he send disciples to verify His identity?

When John was thrown into prison I don’t think he thought much about the consequences of speaking against Herod. John was uncompromising in his convictions and his faith in God. However, when John was in prison and looking at his own dire circumstances he wanted to make sure. He had some doubts. John, the greatest “among those born of women” needed to be encouraged in his faith.

I don’t know about you but I’m nothing like John the Baptist. I wasn’t born with the Holy Spirit. I lived a life of sin and selfishness thinking only of myself before I was saved. My parents were unsaved, and the only times I remember going to church were for weddings and funerals. I saw God as this being who created all of us and then abandoned us to ourselves. Since being saved I have believed and doubted. Walked away from the church and run back to God. No, I’m nothing like John the Baptist.

Except I have faith, and sometimes, I need encouragement from the Lord. I found some today when I realized the greatest “among those born of a women” wasn’t as steadfast in his faith as I’d like to be in mine.

Allow me to encourage you today to remember where God has brought you from because there are times when we cannot see what’s in front of us. We can only look back on the path we’ve tread, knowing the One who has carried us this far, is faithful to carry us the rest of the way.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.