John the Baptist’s definition of his ministry was blunt and simple: “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness’” (John 1:23 NKJV).

Who was John the Baptist? The scriptures says that this most blessed of all prophets was the greatest “among them that are born of women” and a revered preacher of righteousness. Crowds flocked to hear John’s scorching messages. Many were baptized and became his disciples. Even royalty came under his mighty influence. Some thought he was Christ; others considered him to be Elijah raised from the dead.

However, this fearless man of God refused to be exalted or promoted. He was emptied of self, and he continually withdrew from center stage. In his own eyes, he wasn’t even worthy to be called a man of God. He was simply a wilderness voice, modest, retiring and unconcerned about honor or usefulness. He didn’t care about having a ministry or being “mightily used of God.” In fact, he considered himself unworthy to even touch Jesus’ shoes. His entire life was devoted to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

What a powerful rebuke to us in this age of self-occupation, promotion of personalities, influence-grabbing, ego-tripping and seeking of honors. John could have had it all, yet he cried, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).The secret of John’s happiness was that his joy was not in his ministry or work, not in his personal usefulness or widespread influence. His pure joy was to stand in the presence of the Lord, hear his voice and rejoice in it. His joy was in seeing others, his own disciples included, flocking to Jesus, the Lamb of God.

The greatest fulfillment a child of God can know is to lose self and all desire to be somebody, and simply rejoice in being a son or daughter who lives in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being totally occupied with Christ is what satisfies the heart.

May we, like John, understand that our worth comes from Christ alone. May our souls find their sustenance and joy in him, the author and finisher of our faith.