September 6, 2014
READ: John 3:23-36
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less (v.30).
We’ve all heard that God’s plans are more important than our own. And if you’re like me, you’ve nodded your head in agreement at the wisdom of those words. Yet when we encounter a situation in life where things don’t go according to our plans, we can often become devastated!
John the Baptist’s disciples found themselves in a perplexing situation. They had been following an amazing prophet and man of God, only to see another Man rise up and take the spotlight off of John (John 3:26). Even though he had said a greater One would come (John 1:15), John’s disciples were confused and disappointed.
So how did the prophet respond? Using the analogy of being the best man at a wedding, he lifted up the joy that’s based in the success of another, not personal fulfilment (3:29). Like the best man of a groom, a teacher of a student or a parent of a child, he felt great joy in knowing that Jesus was being lifted up. John the Baptist said, “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else” (v.31).
In an age when selfishness rules, I so often forget about this kind of joy. It doesn’t focus on self, but on others and—especially—Christ. My peace is so often based solely on me, my circumstances and my successes. But John the Baptist reminds me that the true source of joy for a believer is seeing Jesus lifted high and worshipped as our great King.
It’s our joy to serve God and—as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 84—to declare, “I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked” (v.10). Let’s find joy in Jesus as we lift Him high today!
365-day plan› Matthew 23:1-39
Read Philippians 2:1-11 to see how Jesus humbled Himself and focused on others.
How can you begin to take greater joy in others and their successes than in your own? How can you see this attitude reflected in your relationship with Jesus?