You can’t walk into the wilderness with an “It’s all about me” attitude, because the wilderness doesn’t care. It won’t listen. It won’t even pretend to listen. What it will do is teach us what we are in dire need of—humility.

John’s disciples came to him disturbed that Jesus’ ministry was eclipsing his. They were clearly upset that John wasn’t concerned that his numbers were trending down (and any diminishment of him was also a diminishment of them). John’s reply to them was like a bucket of ice water thrown in their faces. “He must become greater, I must become less.”

And where did John learn such a truth? From his disciples? Hardly. From the crowds that came out to be baptized by him? I don’t think so. God taught it to him through the wilderness. And John learned the lesson well.

I hope that’s what is happening in our wilderness—that Christ is becoming greater and we are becoming less. After all, He’s the only person who actually conquered the wilderness. Moses died there. John was taught there. Elijah, Joshua and Caleb survived the wilderness, but Christ alone conquered it. And He will lead us through it.

We live in a world that is deeply fragmented. We are like tiny ants scurrying all over the place (although right now we are mostly secluded inside our little ant hills). To invoke a metaphor from Jesus, we are like sheep without a shepherd. In the end, we need one King and one kingdom that will bring us all together. That is why we are to pray to God for His kingdom (not ours) to come and His will to be done.

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:8)

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