Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness – look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:25-30 ESV.
John 3 recounts a situation that occurred at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and before John the Baptist was thrown in prison. Both John and Jesus were baptizing their followers and some of John’s disciples became upset that more people were going to Jesus to be baptized since John bore witness to Jesus in the first place. John’s disciples believed that he deserved the glory and honor in the situation and that it was unfair that Jesus was drawing more men to Himself. John immediately corrects his disciples, stating that the purpose of his ministry has been completed and that it is time for people to focus on Jesus, not himself. It would be very natural of John to become jealous as all his followers left him for someone else, but his heart was set on spiritual matters, not earthly ones, and he knew that Christ must be glorified. John was fine relinquishing his power and influence because he closely followed God and knew that all his abilities and skills came from God, not himself. John’s words stand out to me as a powerful example of both humility and worship, acknowledging both that he was not worthy of praise and raising Christ up as the only one worthy to be praised.
And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. Job 42:10, 12a ESV
Job, like John, stated that everything that he had came from the LORD and therefore belonged to Him. From the very beginning of the Book of Job, Job is clear that because the LORD gave everything to him, He is also justified to take it away. After all Job’s suffering, Job repents to God and the LORD restores everything to him in abundance. Job’s humility before God has led to his forgiveness and the LORD admonishes Job’s friends for not repenting like Job did. Job’s story shows me the importance of having a humble heart that is open to correction before God.
So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harrass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthains 12:7-10 ESV
Paul’s example of the thorn in his flesh is yet another example of how God favors humility. Through his suffering, Paul realizes that it is Christ, not himself, that is his source of strength and comfort during his time of struggle. Instead of boasting in his strength through pride, Paul instead boasts of his weaknesses that show Christ is working through him. Paul’s humility, like John and Job’s, lifts God up and shows others His power and strength. These three men sent excellent examples for me in humility and servitude towards Christ. There are many times in life when it can be hard for me to stay humble before God. There are also many times when I am struggling and need to remember that Christ’s power is made perfect in my weaknesses and imperfections. A heart that is humble before God is the great place to start when speaking to Him and when trying to get through complicated or uncertain times in life.
Dear God, please give me a humble heart. Please forgive my pride and for the times I do not trust in You. Please give me more faith and trust in You. In Your Holy Name, Amen.