Saturday, February 27, 2010

lenten 40: day 10 - less is more

image 10.

30He must become greater; I must become less.
~John 3:30


John had come to grips with this concept. He understood that his role in the vast scope of God's purpose was limited by the overruling wisdom of the Creator as He carried out His purpose. This is a reason why salvation is spoken of as "free"—because God is not bound to show mercy to anybody since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All too often, we forget that the invisible God is working things out according to His purpose, not ours. God is free to do as He pleases. He owes no one anything.

I Corinthians 4:6-7 adds:

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

Do we have grounds for being puffed up or jealous? John the Baptist did not think so, and what he declared is truth. I Corinthians 12 makes clear that God places people in the church as it pleases Him, and He gives gifts to them so they can be responsible for a function. The gifts do not make them "better," just prepared by the Creator to serve in a specialized way.

~John W. Ritenbaugh

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how might i need to decrease? am i carrying myself higher than I ought? am i serving God in humble ways? these are questions that leaders of the Way need to constantly ask themselves. it's important to note that the context of John 3:30 is found in the midst of John the Baptist sharing his testimony of what he has seen and heard from His Lord, Jesus Christ. It had to be humbling and in some ways difficult for John to give up some elements of power and control - but the Christ - the one for which he had been telling others about, had finally arrived on the scene. It was time for John to take a backseat, a sign of humbleness, so that Jesus' message would not be hampered.

31"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
~John 3:31-36
His testimony and witness of the greatness of God was the message that he needed to tell. The attention was then rightfully shifted to Jesus.

In what ways do we need to divert attention off of ourselves and onto the greatness of our Savior, Jesus? In what ways do we need to decrease so that Christ may increase?

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