Dry and Uninhabited

So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.  Luke 1:80 NKJV
The Bible tells us that John the Baptist grew strong in spirit. Everyone is encouraged by this observation. After all, it's what we all want - to be spiritually strong. We believe to be spiritually strong has many benefits. In fact, many believe as I do, that to be spiritually strong is to tackle the rest of your life well. Everything rises and falls on the strength of our spiritual man.
However, we also read the location of John the Baptist while he was "in process" of growing up.  It tells us that he was in the wilderness or desert places. The greek word here describes it as an uninhabited or uncultivated region. That's not a popular location to grow, but it's usually necessary in order to detox from society's standards and the pull of our fleshly desires. Yet, without it, can we become what God has called us to be and do?
An uninhabited or uncultivated place is hard to embrace. They are left in that condition on purpose. They don't have the soil or environment conducive to growth and civilization. In my mind, I'm reminded of the stories I hear from friends and family of traveling through desert regions in our country. Signs that would read: "last stop for fuel and food for 100 or 200 miles." Signs that warn the traveler that this region is deadly if not handled with care and preparation. Anyone not taking the warnings seriously could be in danger of a life threatening situation.
Yet, God calls us to those places in our life that are uncultivated and uninhabited. Places we've been afraid to address or cultivate because they have been dangerous in the past. We often leave these places for greener pastures because fear imprisons us with the "what if" questions  that haunt us.
However, John the Baptist shows us what faith and obedience can do in these desert places. Not only is John formed by the Spirit of God but he became a catalyst for others to travel to these places. The uninhabited became a habitation of life and the uncultivated flourished with the fruit of the Spirit.
The question remains for us today as Christ searches the earth for a generation of John the Baptists. Will you and I weigh the cost of the dry and desolated places and begin the journey in 2020 for a fruitful land?

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