And they came to John and said to him, “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 answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. [. . .] He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:26, 27, 30 ESV)
For years my New Year’s resolution has been John 3:30. This helps me reflect on how I am progressing in my walk with God. This is a result of a commitment that I made when I read John the Baptist’s words in this passage many years ago. It is a process that depends on an understanding of at least two important concepts.
First, do you know your role as a citizen of God’s kingdom? John the Baptist understood his role very well. He is the voice of one crying in the wilderness. He is the one who is to prepare the way of the Lord by having the ministry of Elijah, restoring covenant faithfulness among God’s people. When the Messiah came, John decreased in his popularity. He was willing to let all go to Christ because he understood that his role was to point others to the Christ. Acts 1:8 and Matthew 28: 18-20 teach that disciples are to be witnesses of Christ. How are you letting others know about Christ?
Second, are you trusting in God’s sovereignty? “A person cannot receive anything unless it is given him from heaven”. We often undermine our ministries by not submitting to God. Men are prone to cling to things that make them seem important. John the Baptist chose differently. Knowing his role in the kingdom helped him trust God’s sovereignty in his own ministry as well as the ministry of another. He understood that God was in complete control. He trusted God instead of trying to cling to his own view of success. Are you willing to trust God and do what you are called to do regardless of the results? John’s disciples were concerned. John was willing to pass the baton.
I pray that these two concepts will encourage you and refresh you in ministry.