He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease

John 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

A very good friend of mine and I have lunch occasionally. We usually get into some great discussions about life and all the things that seem to be beating us up. We always share things about our involvement at our churches, the people that are affecting our lives, the spiritual battles. There was this one discussion where my friend and I were discussing something, and he said this phrase that has rocked my world: “I never want to stand in the way of the Glory of God; In all that I do, I always want to point people to Christ.” Wow. This immediately caught my attention, and I started thinking about what that really means. Am I ever guilty of this? Both of us are musicians on worship teams, and the conversation was about being in front of a church and bringing glory to ourselves, playing things up or basically showing off. We both know that if we don’t actively “point to Christ” or “use our talents for Him in worship” when we are in front of a church, people would see us mixed into the worship and lose sight of Jesus. Oh, that’s just not good at all. 

So, off on a journey through the Bible to challenge this statement. There are a lot of references of those pointing attention to self in the Bible. And quite a few who humbly pointed attention to Christ. But one day after digging through passages and not doing too well with an answer, I spoke to Pastor Chris before a practice and he says, “The opposite of that sounds like John the Baptist.” Yikes, this was a “slap my forehead moment.” I had been looking for the example of someone standing in the way of God’s work or even taking credit for what God has done. I should have been looking for the exact opposite.

In the early part of John, while at a place where people were being baptized, John the Baptist was asked by the Jews (John 3:25-30), “Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before 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. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

The original statement does hit the mark, just not in the exact way John the Baptist said it. The idea of “not me, but Christ” is within it.

How else could this be applied? Do we reflect Christ in all that we do? And all the time, not just on Sunday? Do people around us see Christ in our conversations or do they see us? When we are angry, do they see Christ working in us or do they see us? When something has obviously changed in our lives by God, do we give Him credit for what He has done or just keep it quiet?

Jesus must increase, I must decrease.

Have a great day!

—Brian Rainey

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