Joyfully Yielding to the Master’s Plan

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”‬‬

John 3:30 NLT

It’s a powerful statement.

It’s a simple concept.

The more He increases, and the more I decrease, the more joy I will experience.

“It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.”

John 3:29 NLT

When Jesus wins… when Jesus is lifted up (exalted)… when Jesus increases in the eyes of those around me… then ultimately I win.

“The one who gains his life loses it… the one who loses his life gains it.”

It’s upside down. It’s backwards. The path to winning is losing. The path to becoming greater is becoming less. The path to increasing is decreasing.

His increase is a secret source of joy. Untapped, inexhaustible, unexplainable joy!

One thing I had never considered was John’s continuing ministry of preparing the way for Jesus.

John the Baptist began in the Jewish area of Judea, not far from Jerusalem. Once John baptized Jesus and Jesus had burst onto the scene at the Passover, John appears to slip into the background and out of the limelight.

When John said he had decreased, he meant it, quite literally. John left his prominent ministry among the Jews, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, and headed across to the other side of the Jordan to a place called Aenon, near Salim.

“At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism.” ‭‭

John‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus’ ministry was in the more prominent region of Judea.

“So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”” ‭‭‬‬

John‬ ‭3:26‬ ‭NLT

Aenon near Salim was next to Samaria. There, John likely had a mixed audience of both Jews and Samaritans. Perhaps he was even baptizing some Samaritans. The Samaritans were definitely considered second class citizens, or outcasts, hated by the Jews. A ministry near and among Samaritans was definitely a decrease in prominence and influence. Being in obscure Aenon, John had definitely decreased.

And yet, even in decreasing, John was still used by God to prepare the way!

Where did Jesus go next?

John 4. He traveled through Samaria, where He had a gospel encounter with a sinful woman.

And what did that woman say?

“The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.””

John 4:25 NLT

‭‭How did she know the Messiah was coming? Perhaps she’d heard reports from others of John’s preaching, or perhaps she heard John for herself. “I know (with certainty) Messiah is coming.” I’d always read that statement as a reference to her understanding of prophecy, but maybe quite literally she had heard that the Messiah was already there. He was in Jerusalem for the Jewish Passover, and now He was headed their way.

So amazing!!!

What seemed like a demotion humanly speaking, being “sidelined” in Samaria, might have actually been God’s plan to continue to use John to prepare the way and point people to Jesus.

How do I count success? Bigger assignments? Greater influence?

Success is not about me. Success is when He becomes greater, and any way He wants to use me to do that, even in a sideline role, is the ultimate win.

It’s all about Jesus!

When He increases, I receive the gift of joy.
NOTE: This blogpost is based upon Knowing Him / A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ / Day 12

Watch the Knowing Him video that accompanies Day 12 in this study: