John 3:22-36; 1 Chronicles 13-14; Zechariah 3
John the Baptist had a job. He was to prepare the way for people to accept the coming Messiah. His message of repentance struck a nerve among the common people – who believed John and among the religious leaders – who may have been slightly amused by his message except that it lessened their control over the common people. Then, some of John’s disciples noted that the crowds were beginning to thin out a bit because this newcomer was preaching and baptizing – someone that John himself had baptized! They went to John and warned him that his fame was being threatened. In a corporate world, a warning like that would lead to strategies to regain lost market share. Ad agencies would be encouraged, hired and/or fired. John’s message would be refurbished and rebranded to draw the people back to him. John, however, understood the situation better. He told his disciples that this was good. This was why he had come. If he had come to prepare the way for the Messiah, and the Messiah’s popularity was growing, he had been successful. In short, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John’s words speaking of his own popularity among the people still ring true today. As followers of Christ His leadership in our lives must grow more and more predominant. We don’t understand all of that when we first commit to following Jesus. Growth in Christ, though, means that our personal desires become less important while our desires to follow Christ drive more of our life. We begin our walk with Christ knowing that God has forgiven us and will forgive us when we fail; as we seek to let Jesus increase in our lives we seek to be so obedient that we do the right things before needing forgiveness. While we will never attain perfection, growing in Christ means that we show our obedience more quickly. John’s words here are the story of Christian growth in on brief epithet. May the power and leadership of Jesus increase in our lives while our own stubborn will decreases. That change in us will change the world!
Oh God, how often I want You to sit back while I show You how things should be. I place my desires for recognition ahead of my obedience to You. Remind me today that Your control must increase in every part of my life and that my control should decrease as I become obedient to You. Give me Your grace to live under Your leadership every day.