He must increase, but I must decrease
John 3:22-4:3 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea; and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there; and people were coming and being baptized— 24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Then a matter of dispute developed on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing and all the people are coming to Him.” 27 John replied, “A person can receive not even one thing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the groom; but the friend of the groom, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 “He who comes from above is above all; the one who is only from the earth is of the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What He has seen and heard, of this He testifies; and no one accepts His testimony. 33 The one who has accepted His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God sent speaks the words of God; for He does not give the Spirit sparingly. 35 The Father loves the Son and has entrusted all things to His hand. 36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
4 So then, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that He was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing; rather, His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again to Galilee.
In Matthew 16:24 Jesus says: “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” In truth though our faith walk with Jesus is not about denial. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” How do we deny ourselves and have an abundant life? John the Baptist reveals the answer in today’s text when he says: This joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease. It is difficult when we focus on the things we need to remove from our lives. It becomes a work of the flesh. In addition, when we focus on what is bad in us, we actually magnify the evil. Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rather than focusing on what is evil, we should focus on Christ, on becoming so full of Him that there is nothing left of ourselves. Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.It is much more than that we get the things that we want. When we delight in the Lord, when we focus on Him, when we allow Him to increase in our lives, we become like Him; aligned and allied with Him. Jesus taught us to pray saying: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We should also pray Your kingdom come, Your will be done, in me as it is in heaven. We are to be part of the answer to Jesus prayer. When Christ increases in us, the kingdom of heaven comes to earth.
The text says: “He who comes from above is above all; the one who is only from the earth is of the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of this He testifies; and no one accepts His testimony. The one who has accepted His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God sent speaks the words of God; for He does not give the Spirit sparingly. The Father loves the Son and has entrusted all things to His hand. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” These words seem like they were spoken by Jesus, but in fact they are John’s words, His testimony about Jesus. That’s how our testimony should be also. Our words should be aligned with His words. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and as far as the remotest part of the earth.” In John 14:16-24 Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. After a little while, the world no longer is going to see Me, but you are going to see Me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you. The one who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him… If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. The one who does not love Me does not follow My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, increase in me. Fill me to overflowing that my words would be Your words; that I might speak the truth. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, in and through my life. May the kingdom of heaven be revealed on earth. Amen.