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 Increasing in Decreasing

No it’s not a title typo. And yes, it goes against the grain of human thinking and yes, it conflicts with all the world’s definitions of success. In the backrooms of political contestants, alarm bells would be ringing non-stop if ‘increasing in decreasing’ was being experienced. Strategists would be working non-stop on how to reverse the slide – the fading of their candidate’s personal popularity. But John the Baptist had it right. He must decrease. He must fade. He must take a back-seat. He must allow Another to walk out on to center stage. And from his words below, it is obvious there was no reluctance but rather a happy willingness to see Christ walk out on to the main stage. 

 “'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent ahead of Him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease....He who comes from heaven is above all.”

John 3:28-31

John appreciated that his ministry was not about himself – but about Christ. John appreciated that the work he was doing didn’t even belong to him; it wasn’t his but rather it was God’s work. It’s a rather disastrous day on the farm when the tractor thinks it’s all about Mr. Tractor. Things go much more smoothly when the tractor realizes he is just one of the pieces of machinery the farmer uses in his farming operation.

John the Baptist had a unique role to play in his day but it seemed the measure of success for him was the degree to which the focus of the people increasingly shifted towards Christ. Our measure of success and our deepest sense of fulfillment should be no different.

How bizarre the wedding would be if the one of the groomsmen constantly tried to grab the limelight. When the cameras focused on the groom about to kiss his bride, the best man starts waving and steps in front of the camera and says: “Take a picture of me. I’m important. Look at my tux. Look at my styled hair and polished teeth. I’ve got charisma and charm. It’s my first time ever being a groomsman. This is my big day!”

Am I possessive about ‘my’ work? Am I afraid the attention may shift away from me? Am I looking for ways to enhance my standing and stature – so people will notice me?

“Lord, help me today to appreciate all over again, that it’s not about me and it never was about me. It’s about Him, that in all things, Your Son – Jesus Christ might have the pre-eminence. May I have an increasing sense of my own decreasing significance. Preserve me from self-promotion and may I spend my days promoting only Christ.”


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