“He must increase, but I must decrease.”John 3:30
If John the Baptist had thrived on attention, popularity, crowds, praise, compliments, greetings, marketing, renown, likes, and followers, then he would have become dependent on it.
He would have been like a drug addict that needs more and more to satisfy. Who feels like death when suffering from withdrawal. Who needs the approval of others. Who keeps inventing new ways to wow a crowd or get everyone’s attention or impress others with his unique contributions. Who feels threatened when another rises.
John had not gorged himself on the approval of man. He had stayed on mission and pointed others to something — someone — outside of himself.
He felt at peace when Jesus rose in popularity. As though his mission had succeeded.
Even Jesus lives this way:
“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.” (John 7:18)
How to tell if someone is telling the truth: If they share the message of the person who sent them, to the glory of another, even at great cost.