From God’s word – John the Baptist had the heart of a true servant

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By Toni Ford

While recently reading the Book of John, the Lord has been pointing out things to me that I’ve never seen before. Perhaps these are revelations I need to pay closer attention to in my own life. Our Lord, in His grace, is giving me a gentle nudge as a reminder.

The latest revelation my eyes have been opened to is servanthood and what it means to have the heart of a servant. Our greatest example of servanthood is, of course, Jesus Christ Himself. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” I believe John the Baptist not only understood this but also lived it.

Throughout all the gospels, and especially in the first few chapters of John, we see how John the Baptist devoted his own life to serving our Lord Jesus. Two main characteristics stood out for me, and these are ones I pray I grow in each day.

Boldness. Isaiah prophesied many years before John the Baptist was born that, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!” (Isaiah 40:3-4). Even before Jesus began his ministry at age 30, John the Baptist was preaching, telling people to turn to God, repent of their sins and be baptized. Everywhere John the Baptist went, he had people following him and even had his own disciples. John was not afraid to speak the truth to anyone. In Luke Chapter 3, John confronts Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, for marrying his brother’s wife and many other wrongs he had done. Even though Herod Antipas eventually had John the Baptist arrested and beheaded, that did not keep John from speaking the truth about Jesus. John the Baptist did not waste a day of his life in pursuing the calling on his life.

Humility. John the Baptist always put Jesus above himself and consistently told the people and his own disciples that one is coming who is greater than he. Luke 3:16 says, “John answered their questions by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am, so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals.”

In John Chapter 3, John’s disciples were jealous because Jesus was baptizing on the other side of the Jordan River and more people were going to Jesus than they were John. Here is John the Baptist’s response in John 3:29-30: “I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater and I must become less and less.” What humility!

John the Baptist set the standard and definition of service through his character, boldness, discipline and humility. This is what it means when he said, “Christ must increase, and I must decrease. My prayer is that I can serve my Lord and others as John the Baptist did and as Christ did his own Father. This world would indeed be a different place if we all served each other this way!

If you would like me to join you in prayer please email me at tonif77@gmail.com. I would love to pray for you!

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