He must increase, but I must decrease.
– John 3:30
Ever since I was a teenager, I remember a man who had an indelible impact on my life. Encouraged me to have a life verse, a verse that summarizes what you want to describe your life. And ever since then, John 3:30 has been that verse for me.
John 3:30 Teaches that We Must Not Exalt Ourselves
And I share that just to be clear, not because I believe I always model this verse, but I want to. I so want to just to hear John the Baptist say, “I’m on the scene for one reason. For Jesus to increase and for me to decrease.” More of him, less of me. All of him, none of me. And this is what I pray. But I would just confess, I’m tempted in so many ways to well, adjust this verse.
Instead of saying he must increase but I must decrease, my tendency is I think I really want Jesus to increase, to be glorified in my life. Where I am prone to temptation is the second part, but I must decrease to really authentically desire to be less because I’m prone to say, “Jesus exalt yourself and I hope people think well of me too.” But to really and truly say, I don’t want people to think of me at all. He must increase, I must decrease. I just want to point people to him.
John 3:30 Is a Calling to Humility
And so I pray in my own life and want to lead us to pray for each other, that you, Lord Jesus, would increase through our lives and that we would decrease today. God, may that be so. May we live like John the Baptist lived in this way, to point people to you and to get out of the way. And I praise you, God, for even the verse right before this when John the Baptist talks about how this is a joy of his to decrease while you increase, that our joy is found in this.
God, help us, I pray for humility in my life, in every one of our lives as we’re praying this. God, help us to become less, to think less about ourselves, to not desire the approval or applause of others. To truly desire more than anything else, your approval, your applause, your acclaim, your fame, your worship above everything. And for us to fall into the background, crucified with Christ. Your life in us. God, we pray that today. Less of us, more of you. None of us and all of you. And God, we pray that. All of you, Lord Jesus, and all of your glory among all the nations.
Praying for the Swahili People
We pray for the Swahili of Zambia today, about 50,000 Muslims in Zambia, part of the Swahili people. And God, we pray that the name of Jesus would increase there. You would raise up laborers who go and decrease so that you might increase. Who lay down their lives, who make sacrifices so that the name of Jesus will increase among the Swahili of Zambia. God may it be so.
There and among all the nations of the world, God help us all to decrease so that you might increase among the nations. Oh God, in this way, help us to follow John the Baptist and to find joy and you being exalted and us being less. We pray that this verse would mark our lives. In Jesus name. Amen.