Help Thou my un-hiddenness


     Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet and man of all those who’d gone before him, Luke 7:28. What a tribute! In Israel, John was sent ahead of Jesus to fulfill his predestined role in redemptive history, Malachi 3:1; cf. Matthew 11:10. He was sent to call the nation to repentance just before Messiah came. He did so and had created quite the stir along the way. He had gained so much popularity that some of the religious elite asked him if he was the Messiah, John 1:19-28. Jesus, his biological cousin, showed up on the scene sometime after John began his public ministry. As was fitting, the people began to go to Jesus more than to John. John was quite content with this and clearly says so to his disciples in John 3:25-30. John was a bright and burning lamp, John 5:35. Like most godly men in the transition time of the gospels (~A.D. 25-28) however, he had doubt. In Luke 7:18-28 he was in prison and actually sent messengers to Jesus questioning Him about whether or not He was in fact the Messiah. It should be noted by any Bible student that despite John’s disbelief, Jesus afterward paid him the greatest public compliment he’d ever been given, Luke 7:28. John was an amazing man.    

     John the Southern Baptist (kidding about the southern part) saw that his public role was coming to an end. His job was done. Jesus was now physically on the scene. He saw it and said something amazing. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30. Jesus, he knew, must become more important while he became less important. The greatest Old Testament prophet said this of himself. Here's what John has me asking myself then: If the greatest of prophets could say this, how much more should I, who am in competition for the lowest place, be humbled to affirm such a desire for Christ’s glory in my own life and ministry?

     Some may want to be generals. Some may want to be the president. Some want large corporations. Others want to write songs that’ll live forever. As I write this devotional tonight at 0100 there are men with sleep deprivation at work in laboratories to discover cures to one thing or another. All are fine things. As for me though, I can honestly say that I just want to be used of God. I want to hide myself in Christ and be willingly useful in His hands.

     I want to affirm John’s selflessness in what I say and do, but I often don’t. I’m asking myself this morning about how often I demand my own increase? Even in matters aside from the church how often do I feel that something is my right, or that I’m more special than the next man? How quickly in ministry am I frustrated by wimps when I was once weaker than them? How much do I fear in my weakness that I’m missing out on glory if only my Father in heaven sees what I’m doing in my prayer closet? Christ teaches me that the least among us is greatest, Matthew 20:25-27. I believe it. I believe it, but I don't always live like I do. 

     Jesus said of me: “…He who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he,” Luke 7:28b. I am greater than John. Because Christ has died I now have access to God in ways that John did not have while he lived, Hebrews 10:19-22; Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:12. I am greater because I’m a new creation, something that occurred after John’s time. I will tell you, however, dear reader, that I do not feel any greater than John. I feel less than him. Could I pass on prestige? Can I happily differ all the glory men may offer me to God? Could I rejoice with unabridged internal contentment when men move away from me to another gospel preacher? What if I was in jail and my illusion of control was shattered? Would I now doubt any less than John?

     Oh, John, amen. He must increase; we must all decrease. Paul says to the believer that, “You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” Colossians 3:3. I wish to hide, Lord! Hide me in You. I am one fit to be hidden. Help Thou my un-hiddenness!

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