25Some of John's disciples began arguing with a Jew about the matter of ritual washing.26So they went to John and told him, “Teacher, you remember the man who was with you on the east side of the Jordan, the one you spoke about? Well, he is baptizing now, and everyone is going to him!”
27John answered, “No one can have anything unless God gives it.28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’29The bridegroom is the one to whom the bride belongs; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands by and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegroom's voice. This is how my own happiness is made complete.30He must become more important while I become less important.”
This passage has been a powerful reminder to me today, that my own ministry is but a preview of Christ's. He is the one who must increase. "My" ministry needs to direct others to His, and it is from His ministry I am sent. The people around me don't need me, they need Christ. I must become less important, as He becomes more important both in my own life and in the lives of those around me. Father please let this be true in my life today! and always.
how does this happen? How do I direct others to Him, while living my everyday life? My Daily life and The Christian Life are not two separate things! They have to be the same, or I'm not obeying the call of God to "go and make disciples". So what does that look like? Thoughts?
- Choosing time in His Word or prayer over time to waste on Facebook or Youtube.
- Offering to help others, even when (especially when) I don't feel like it.
- Sharing the love of God with coworkers, or unbelieving friends, even when you might offend people.
- Encouraging other believers when they are lonely or struggling. (We are meant to be a community, a team that builds each other up in the hard times, not judging or condemning when someone messes up).
- Prayer: one of the most crucial parts of our relationship with God. And with each other. If we don't pray for others when they have need, are we not guilty of selfishness? We must hold each other up in prayer. The temptations of our flesh and of the world in which we live are great and we all need real, dedicated prayer to overcome those and "press on toward the mark of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus".
I kinda am going to stray off of this lesson just a tad at first but will come back to the main focus you're sharing. When I read this, what I get from it is jealousy, backbiting, gossip, anger, pride & envy. These things lead to the destruction of churches. That's what we have so many denominations & churches on every street corner (or at least where I live). John's disciples run to him like kids & tattle-tale. What's funny is who they are tattling on. They need to go in the corner & suck their thumbs a bit. They were so upset because this Jew that John told them about is baptizing & His following is growing which is taking away from their followers. How Dare He? Just in those few verses, I ask myself: What did John tell his disciples about Jesus? John's mission & entire life was prophesied & known to him. His life & message was based on the coming of Christ & now He had come. Did they not fully understand John's purpose or understand who Christ really was?
What started this conversation, to begin with, was John's disciples started an argument with some Jews (Jesus & His peeps) about purification in baptism/ceremonial cleansing. Imagine that for a moment. These disciples whose mission was to be the forerunner of Christ was starting an argument with Christ about Him baptizing. These poor kidshad issuess. And Christ wasn't their issue in my opinion. Their issue was within them. Issues like jealousy, arrogant, prideful, angry, argumentative and they didn't want to give up their Shine. OOOHHH, how power corrupts & corrupts completely if we don't allow the Lord to lead us. I've seen this happen time & time again in pastors & leaders of churches.
John, however, handled his disciples with great humility & grace. He shared with them that each one is given a service from heaven & no one had the right to claim any importance other than what God gave them. John’s service was to be the forerunner of Christ. He ran his race & was headed toward the finish line though he didn't know it yet. His task had come to fruition in the life of his cousin, his Lord, his King, his redeemer & his Savior. Christ now dwelt among them. Rather than regretting his loss of popularity, he rejoices in being the friend of the bridegroom.
John knew what his task was & now it was time for him to decrease & take a back seat so that Christ could increase. & complete His task.
I went down a bunny trail I know (Ironic since this is Easter). I just found other points also interesting & many lessons can be taken away from these Scriptures. Lessons like pride, petty disagreements, keeping the Main Thing the main thing, humility, anger among many other things.
I love the lesson He gave you.
Many church leaders & even church members believe it is a badge of honor to burn out from exhaustion from all their church work. Oh, let's recognize Patty this morning. She gets 12 hours of sleep all week because she is doing this, that & the other thing. They want to have their hands in all of the cookie jars. However, this attitude shows a disregard for God's plan in our lives. It can be dangerous because it also reflects an attitude of pride since it is often motivated by a belief that the ministry will fall apart without their leadership. Boy oh boy. We really think quite highly of ourselves at times. What we need to do instead is thank the Lord for allowing us to catch just a small glimpse into His kingdom. He has allowed us to share in the ministry & lets us see the blessings of others coming to Him. He grants us the privilege of helping others while possibly leading them down the right path. That is an honor & a privilege from the Creator Himself.
We, in the flesh, get in our own ways so many times. The souls we could reach, the lost we could find, the hunger we could feed, the helpless we could help, the hurting we could heal & the most important task - growing His kingdom.
This is all over the place but thank you for sharing this message. I was blessed by it.
Thank you, Lord for allowing us to see just a glimpse of Your kingdom & giving us the privilege to share You & Your message with others. Forgive us where we fail, when we think we're bigger than the message & mightier than the Word we're sharing. May we reach our full potential for You & may You & only You get the glory for everything we do.