"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30
John the Baptist was different. In the book of Mark, John the Baptist is described as a man who "wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey." Yes, his clothing and cuisine were different than most of his counterparts. He preached a message that was different as well: "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" But it is what he said in John 3:30 that really went against the grain of society then and even now: "He must become greater; I must become less." Back then, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees were known by their extravagant wardrobes and lavished lifestyles. Jesus spoke about this in Matthew 23:5-6. He says, "Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues." Jesus called them out for their "showy" displays. Is it any different today? The world loves "showy" people. It seems as thought every message delivered to us through media today is all about self…help yourself…do for yourself…build up yourself…take care of yourself…love yourself. The cliches have been ingrained into our hearts and minds. "It is a dog eat dog world" and "if you don't take care of yourself, no one else will" have really twisted our way of life. How could John the Baptist say, "He must become greater; I must become less"? How can we become "less" today? John the Baptist could say that because his life wasn't about himself. His life was about his purpose. He understood and embraced his purpose in life, and that purpose was to point people to Jesus. John the Baptist denied his own personal desires and embraced God's desires for his own life. You and I can deny self, as well. We can embrace God's purpose for our lives. We, too, can say, "He must become greater; I must become less." It starts with self denial. We have to truly believe that God's purpose for our lives is better than our own. We have to truly believe that God will provide for us in every way. We can become "less" by focusing on the needs of others rather than focusing simply on our own needs. Jesus said in Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Instead of believing the world and its message of self-service, believe the words of Jesus. Don't live life to be served; live life to serve others. John the Baptist was different. His message was different. Jesus was different. His message was different. As Christ followers, we are called to be like Christ in every way. Be different! Be less!