He Must Increase

by Rhonda, March 10, 2022

Matthew 11:11 "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist”

Those are Jesus' words about John the Baptist.  If we had the opportunity to have those words written on our tombstone, I think we could consider our life well-lived.  He's worth studying for no other reason than Matthew 11:11.

But John the Baptist was a bit of a quirky guy.  He lived in the wilderness.  He wore clothing made of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist.  He ate locusts and wild honey (yuck).  He's not exactly the guy who would be accepted at the local country club, not that he would care.  He knew who he was, and he knew his purpose.

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."

John the Baptist was referring to Christ in this verse.  In fact, the ministry John had worked so hard to create had to decrease at the time of Christ.  It was never meant to be a ministry to follow John, instead it was a ministry meant to pave the way for the Messiah.  His followers had to become Christ followers once the Messiah appeared.  So, we can understand why John knowingly said "He must increase, but I must decrease." 

He wasn't the Messiah.  

The only way for Christ to become greater was for John to become less.  Everything he was, and everything he possessed was designed to make Christ increase.  But, John didn't view this as a loss.  He understood this was gain.

Today, the world places value on accomplishments, money, fast cars, easy relationships, and social status.  Living a simple life doesn't earn any accolades.  Why would anyone intentionally choose to decrease when the name of the game is who makes the most money or has the most rewards on the shelf?

I was at an estate sale a few years ago.  An elderly man had passed away, but in his basement, there were boxes of golf trophies he'd earned throughout his lifetime.  Several boxes sat on the floor, full of differing trophies.  No one wanted them, since they were engraved with his name.  At the end of the day, even after marking the box down to a dollar, they remained on the floor.  They were going to be hauled off to the trash, or perhaps Goodwill.

You know, one day, all of our trophies are going to end up in the trash.  

The only thing that lasts is Christ, and John the Baptist knew it.  Even though he didn't live to see the crucifixion and resurrection, John knew his place and his purpose.  He must increase, but I must decrease. 

I wonder what would happen if we started to live as though everything we are, and everything we possess, is to make Christ increase.  We aren't the end game.  In fact, life is not about us, the next thing we buy, or the next position we have.  What if we really understood the only way Christ will become greater is if we become less?  

We have to step down from the throne of our own lives in order for God to get on the throne.  But, Christ in his rightful place, changes everything.  

  • Christ in his rightful place means he rules our lives, instead of "self" ruling our lives.
  • Christ in his rightful place means we are led by joy instead of fear.
  • Christ in his rightful place means we will worship God instead of things.

Indeed, the increase of Christ is not loss.

It is great gain.

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