He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease

by Pastor Paul Moy

My sons often ask me to share the story of John the Baptist. They say, "Dad, can you tell us the story about the man who wears camel hair and eats locust and honey?" I love taking this opportunity to share who Jesus claims to be, one of the greatest men who ever lived. Matthew 11:11 states, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

What made John the Baptizer so great that Christ singles him out as the greatest human being born up to that point? Why did he stand out amongst the rest? John was definitely a unique man. He had an unusual diet. He did not dress like everyone else. He did not fit into the religious system of his day. He began a baptismal ministry. When they questioned him, he would use those opportunities to share about the coming Messiah. He shared the message of repentance and the coming of the kingdom.

There are many things that made John the Baptizer uniquely great. Specifically, John was humble. His humility was amazing! John had this tremendous understanding of his own humility in light of Jesus. John was not arrogant or self-righteous. John was very simple and straightforward about things. “I’m nobody. I’m a voice who’s not good enough to be a janitor for Jesus Christ.” The most common and menial job for a slave was to untie his master’s sandals. John humbled himself and shared that even he was not worthy to untie the sandals of Jesus.

 It is so difficult to be humble. Pride is arguably the deadliest and most evil of all sins because it’s at the root of all other sins. Pride was the bait Satan used to tempt Eve when he set aside what God had said and assured her that if she ate of the forbidden fruit, she would be like God (Gen. 3:1-6).

Satan even tried to use pride on Jesus while he was fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. I struggle with the area of pride. It is a constant battle. My pride shows up in a lot of different ways through my stubbornness, criticism and competition.

Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Here we see that pride destroys relationships, but humility is the solution to pride. How are you going to grow in humility? It all begins by allowing Jesus to take control of our thoughts, heart, attitudes and reactions.

I need God’s grace to grow in humility. As Christians, we must constantly battle pride and grow in humility. John said this about Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease” John 3:30. John’s purpose was to point people to Jesus Christ. He was a vessel. If we want to be great in the kingdom of God, it begins with us being humble.