Daily Bible Reading Reflections

“He Must Increase; I Must Decrease”

Today’s Bible reading is Ruth 4 and John 3.

In John 3, some disciples of John the Baptist were concerned. Public attention seemed to be shifting toward Jesus of Nazareth and (as a result) away from their teacher.

“Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness–look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” (John 3:26)

John was here first! Don’t you remember that it was John who first drew attention to Jesus? Have you forgotten that John was the one to baptize Jesus? Rabbi, look! The spotlight is shifting. What are we (you!) going to do about this?

You can read John’s full response in John 3:27-30, but it’s his last statement in that response that gives us something powerful to think about as we head into the weekend:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Shouldn’t this be the motto of all disciples? Isn’t this the trajectory of every faithful walk with Jesus?

Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Brought me lower while I whispered,
“Less of self, and more of Thee.” (Theodore Monod, 1874)

Less of self, more of Jesus in my thinking, planning, talking, acting, and reacting. Less of self, more of Jesus in my friendships, marriage, and parenting. Less of self, more of Jesus in what I draw attention to and how I prioritize. Less of self, more of Jesus on Sundays … and every day thereafter.

What will it look like for you to follow John’s lead in applying that motto? “He must increase, but I must decrease.” That’s worth thinking about this weekend. And as you do, don’t miss what John said just before that powerful statement: “Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” (John 3:29). Less of self and more of Jesus doesn’t result in LESS joy. It’s the God-shaped path TO the joy that this world doesn’t understand. But John did. So can you, if …

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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