I was reflecting on John the Baptist’s ministry down by the riverside and thinking how our priorities are different as believers than John’s. Think about this with me. He has a booming ministry where people are traveling miles outside of the city to hear him preach. This is like people leaving Nashville to come hear a preacher in Pig, KY (that’s right you haven’t heard of it).
The place where we differ from John is when Jesus comes on the scene. I believe that as selfish people we would not be happy to see Jesus because we would be doing a great job making a name for ourselves. We wouldn’t want Jesus to get in the way. At the least, we would think that Jesus could be an added bonus to our ministry that could increase our fame. Instead, John takes a different route. He says “he must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).” His heart is that he would get out of the way so that Jesus could be displayed.
Some times we pray this prayer rather broadly, hoping that Jesus will save people and that we will not be in his way in evangelism. But what if we applied this prayer to every area of life. Would Christ not be glorified if we were less full of ourselves. Let’s apply this prayer of John to every aspect of our lives.
We must decrease and he must increase…
1. In our marriages- John Piper encourages believers to seek their own joy in their spouse’s joy. This is great advice because all marriages are lived in such close quarters that having selfish desires can lead to a war zone. But what if both members of the marriage had this prayer to decrease and Christ to increase in the midst of the marriage. Sometimes that would mean that both members would have to die to their sinful, selfish desires in order for Christ’s desire to reign in the marriage.
2. In our hearts- one false teaching of the evangelical church today is that coming to Christ makes us feel better about ourselves. There is a self-help gospel that becomes self-exalting. Instead, what if in our hearts we prayed that we would see ourselves with clarity and humility. As a result, I believe Christ would be an even greater treasure.
3. In our churches- sometimes we get in the way of even a moment of worship that is supposed to be Christ-exalting. We speak so that we might be praised. We sing so that our name might be spread. And we argue so that our vision will become a reality. What if there was alot less of ourselves and alot more of Jesus in our midst? With more Christ, comes more love, more humility, more authenticity, and alot more hope of people coming to Jesus.
4. In our jobs- Many times we work to be noticed and we get mad when we are not appreciated. What if our prayer is that Christ would increase when we work? It might cost us our laziness or our complaining but it would be better for the kingdom. If we remove ourselves at work maybe our co-workers would “see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
These are just a few areas that this prayer could impact for the glory of Christ. What if we prayed it over every area of our lives? What other areas could use more of Christ and less of ourselves?