“John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 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 3:27-30
John’s understanding of Christ’s protective and providing hand is made abundantly clear in the way he responds to his disciples questioning in this verse. But what is so provoking is the truth that joy is really only had when we decrease and Jesus increase’s.
Joy in its purest and truest form is come when we deny ourselves and uphold the one who is worthy of exaltation.
For Him to increase, I must decrease.
There are many out there who believe that poverty equals holiness. And so they sell their home, rent in the city, make their own clothes, mingle with the lowly and live as simply as they can muster. All in an effort to decrease. But they may not actually hold the Word of God to any esteem, or preach the things of God with the same vigor as they do in denying themselves of selfish pleasures.
On the other hand there are plenty of people who live lifestyles worthy of a king. Basking in the pleasures of wealth. They constantly seek praise from there co-workers and
boast in their abilities and accomplishments. These people may also raise their hands in
genuine excitement over Christ and thank Him for His goodness. But they are not humbly decreasing for the sake of the Lord’s exaltation.
John is well aware that all things come from above, which means that nothing we do
inclines the Lord’s hand in our favor. So we as the friend of the bridegroom rejoice when
we hear His voice. We desire for Christ to be made great. And the only way to effectively do
that is to humble ourselves and shrink.
I must ebb and Christ must flow.
As the great hymn How Deep The Father’s Love For Us goes, I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.
And as 1 Corinthians 1:31 says, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
This dyeing and decaying world needs less of me and more of Him. He must increase, I must decrease. But in return we can expect joy immeasurable. Joy uncontaining. Joy only the Lord can provide when He is exalted as He should.