When I was a younger, I loved the show Man vs Wild. In this survival show, famed outdoorsman Bear Grylls would be dropped in remote wildernesses all over the world and show you how to escape. He taught survival advice like where to go when in danger, how to build shelter anywhere in the world, and how to find things to eat eat. He also explained when it was time to do outlandish things like jumping off of hundred foot cliffs, building ramshackle rafts, or drinking his own urine. All in all, Bear Grylls was the coolest person I could think of when I was a kid.
For the same reason, I loved the Biblical character of John the Baptist. I could recall all of the weird things John did like eating bugs, living in the wild, or wearing animal skins instead of the normal clothes of his day. His unique lifestyle and ability to prophecy brought him fame from all over Israel. People looked to John as a spiritual leader, while the spiritual leaders of that day were performing lackluster in this area. John’s ability to lead spiritually was in direct contrast to these leaders. His goal was to point to the Christ, while the goal of the Pharisees was to point to themselves.
When Jesus’ ministry began, John’s disciples began arguing with those of Jesus. When they came to John and told him that Jesus was baptizing in John’s territory, his response was, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John knew his place in the spiritual pecking order and flourished in his role. Jesus even said of John, “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” John’s ministry to Jesus was to prepare the way for Him to come. We, as Christians have this same purpose in life.
As John’s goal was to prepare people for the first coming of Christ, our goal should be to prepare them for the second coming. When we look at John, we can see a few of his methods that we can use as well. For instance, our desire should be to decrease ourselves by increasing Christ. Are we pointing people to Jesus or pointing them to ourselves? Do our posts on Facebook and Instagram scream Jesus or scream our own insecurities and fears? We need to check to see if we, ourselves are even living in light of the coming Christ.
Secondly, we should look at what things were important to John in this world. These things enabled John to stay true to his focus. Wealth? No, John went to live in the desert and as a ministry pointed people to Jesus. Fame? No, John said that he needed to decrease so that Jesus could increase. John’s whole desire was to be the moon to reflect the light that is Jesus Christ. Honor? No, John said he was “unworthy to even unstrap Jesus’ sandal.”
In these days that are so worrisome with disease and massive storms, politically so filled with hatred and “fake news”, we need to discern what is truly important. If our goal is anything except to glorify Christ, we need to ask ourselves how we can change that.