I Must Become Less

feetOnScaleI know ’tis the season to be treadmilling, but this is not a post about weight loss.

It’s about self-loss.

In this post-Christmas season where we strive to rid ourselves of our caloric over-accumulations, it is more important to rid ourselves of…ourselves.

Ask any Christian which verse in the Bible best sums up the gospel message and they will most likely tell you it is John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”), and I would agree with that answer.

But what if someone asked which verse best sums up a Christian’s response to that gospel?  In other words, if we point to John 3:16 for God’s plan of salvation, what verse points to what we do next?

My answer would be John 3:30.

While John 3:16 is the head knowledge of the gospel, John 3:30 is the feet.

In John 3:30, John the Baptist, speaking to his followers, states, “He must become greater, I must become less.”  You see, John was baptizing people in Salim.  Jesus was baptizing people in a different region.  John’s disciples noticed that fewer people were coming to them to be purified and more people were going to Jesus.  Concerned about this shift, John’s disciples questioned him about it. Here is the exchange:

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

In this passage John is saying, Look guys, there’s no need for concern.  This journey I am on is not about me, it’s about Him. Jesus’ arrival fills me with joy.  People leaving me to follow Him is just how it should be.  Take your eyes off what we are doing here and focus instead on Jesus.

So while John 3:16 succinctly explains God’s redemptive plan, John 3:30 succinctly explains how to live as Christians under that plan; by practicing self-loss.

But this is no easy task.

Just as I would rather be facing a plate of warm cookies than a cold treadmill, I often would rather do things under my direction than God’s.

I need to become less.

Lord, help me to get let go of my selfish ways.  Your ways are so much better, but my ways feel more comfortable and easy.  You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Help me to lose myself so that I may gain You.


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