I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray.
Find in Me thine all in all.”
I love this hymn, usually titled “All to Christ I Owe.” It is a reminder of how God offers us so much when we are so weak in so many things.
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:28-30, ESV
We know there was no bitterness in John as he watched his ministry shrink. Though he had fewer numbers, he was rejoicing. He belonged to Jesus. He knew Jesus was the one to save him from his sins. John had been called to help people return to God. Now God was there, in the flesh. Therefore, John was filled with joy. What he had worked for in ministry had begun to come to pass. In realization of that, he explained that he had to become less so that Jesus could become more. If people were following John, they weren’t following Jesus, after all.
John’s mindset can be especially hard for us. Many of our have a lot of pride in what we do, who we are, and we have likely been taught from an early age that we should always be “increasing:” more money, bigger house, nicer car, more important title, better retirement, etc. We are constantly bombarded by this type of messaging, especially here in the West. With Jesus, we must decrease if He is to increase in our lives, in our ministries, in our efforts for the Kingdom. That’s hard to do given all the overt messages to do the opposite.
If we do choose to decrease, it’s not often with the attitude John had. We don’t rejoice that our importance or recognition is smaller. Often we chafe at it because we are being told repeatedly that we “deserve more” and “have a right to it.” But John didn’t see it that way. We must strive to be like John in this.
Jesus paid it all;
All to Him I owe:
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.
As we looked at yesterday, we have nothing without God. We could not do anything about our sin that has stained us through and through. But Jesus can and He did: on the Cross. Therefore, if our actions mean we decrease so that He might increase, let us rejoice like John. What good will it be if we increase abundantly here in this life to have nothing in the next? Without Jesus, we have nothing. Let us see Him as the bridegroom and we as the bride and let us rejoice for the marriage and life that is to come!