Luke 7:28 | John 3:28,30 | 1 Peter 2:9
You will be greater for reading this.
John the Baptist knew where it was at. He wasn’t trying to build an empire, or even become the greatest preacher ever known. Although he was pretty great.
“I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John.”Luke 7:28a NLT
Hey, when Jesus says you’re great…you’re great! And yet…John wasn’t aiming for greatness. He knew his mission: to pave the way for the Messiah.
“You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’”John 3:28 NLT
That’s why John didn’t freak out when his own disciples reported that Jesus was getting quite a following of his own. He wanted Jesus’ ministry to grow, and that meant his own ministry would diminish.
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”John 3:30 NLT
While you may not have the same kind of baked-in sense of purpose that John had, as a follower of Christ, your purpose is not terribly different from his.
You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9b NLT
You were called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light so that you can show others his goodness. Your purpose is not to be good. Or to do good–and make yourself look good while you’re at it. No, your purpose is to show others the goodness of God.
The downside? Your reputation among certain groups might decrease as you glorify God.
But the upside is huge. Remember how great Jesus said John was? That’s only half the story. Read the rest…
“I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!”Luke 7:28 NLT
Questions for Group Discussion
- Why is it mean to ‘decrease’ as Jesus ‘increases’ in your life? What exactly are decreasing and increasing?
- Aside from the way Joél described it in the episode, could there be other ways to decrease as Jesus increases?
Challenge: Shrinking and Growing
“And that’s not all!” If you take on this challenge, you need to know that it has not one, but two parts.
To complete this challenge, you will need to come up with a way to demonstrate this Increasing & Decreasing phenomenon in your own life, THEN make a visual representation of the phenomenon in a creative way.
Find a way to practice some sort of decrease in your daily life for the purpose of increasing God’s glory in some way, and do it for at least a week.
- Maybe it’s a decrease in what you spend on video games so that you can increase your support for a ministry. You might decrease the time you spend working out and dedicate it to reading scripture and praying.
- Get creative, and make sure you know the “Increasing & Decreasing” aspect of what you decide to do–you will need to for Part 2, below.
- Make a visual representation of your Increase & Decrease (from Part 1).
- It could be a drawing, a photograph, a sculpture, an object such as a toy or stuffed animal–anything that tells the story.
- Think ‘representational.’ You are not literally telling the story, you are representing the story in a simple way.
- Use your visual representation as a reminder of your practice.