"He must increase, but I must decrease."
The word must appears several times in this famous chapter of the Bible. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he "must" be born again. Jesus also says that He, the Son of Man, "must" be lifted up as a sacrifice for the sins of man. This third "must" has a different person speaking. It is now John the Baptist, and he is proclaiming that in his life Jesus must increase, and he must decrease. There is obviously a lesson of true humility in this passage. Humility is not about having a low opinion of myself. It is thinking of others and lifting them up above myself. John is essentially saying that he needs to make more of Jesus.
Does the thought of John the Baptist making more of Jesus stagger you? Think about it for a moment. Even when he was in the womb he was praising the Messiah. He spent most of his life out in the barren wilderness proclaiming that the Messiah was coming and all needed to repent. We often describe him as the man that seemed to resist all of the comforts of this world. I know that if my diet consisted of locusts and wild honey that I would not call that luxury. His clothes were fashionably made of animal skins that he had probably made himself. If anyone knew what it was to humble himself for Christ's sake, it was John the Baptist. Many came out to seem him as simply a spectacle and a side show. He was not respected by the religious elite. I am sure that they considered him as strange as his message of repentance. However, John never backed off of that message. He wasn't preaching to please people. He was preaching to please the Lord that he loved to serve. Even when Jesus came to be baptized by him, instead of embracing the honor and privilege, he saw his unworthiness. How could he baptize the Messiah when he didn't even feel worthy to loose His sandals?
With all of that in mind, this is the man that says he must decrease! When I think of that, how much more must we need to decrease? How great is the need for us to start making more of Jesus? This is not at first something that we do publicly. If you decide to put your humility on public display, I think that you missed the definition of humility. Humility starts in our private relationship with the Lord. We must begin to make more of Him in our personal relationship. It is through our time of prayer and praise that we exalt Him as He is worthy. Once we have learned to naturally exalt Him privately, we will know better how to exalt Him publicly. Don't concentrate on being humble; concentrate on making more of Jesus.
May you decrease today while He increases!