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Seeds of the Kingdom

He Must Increase But I Must Decrease!

by Lambert Bariho

10 September 2018

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You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom`s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:28-30, ESV

John the Baptist was one of the greatest Bible characters of Jesus’ time. By the time Jesus was introduced to the scene, John had a very successful ministry with many people coming to him to be baptised. After he’d introduced Jesus as the Messiah and Lamb of God, some of John’s followers started to desert him to follow Jesus. Some of John’s disciples were concerned and pointed out to him that Jesus was starting to be more popular than him.

The response of John the Baptist is stunning, especially in today’s world where popularity is sought after by all possible means. John pointed out that he was only a friend to the bridegroom and that his joy was complete by hearing that Jesus was gaining a greater following than his. He concluded by saying: ‘He must increase but I must decrease’.

How hard these words are … to absolutely decrease, while Jesus increases! Most of the time we make these words mean: “He must increase, and I must increase with Him”. But, to John the Baptist, it was: “He must increase, but I must decrease”. The ‘must’ was not only about Jesus increasing, but also about John decreasing. John saw both as things that had to happen. He didn’t want to take anything from the glory that Jesus deserves. This allowed many people – including you and I – to focus on Jesus and put our faith in Him, instead of focusing on John the Baptist.

How many times do we stand in the way of others seeing Jesus and believing in Him because we want to increase with Him? He’s called us to be His witnesses wherever He sends us. But how often do we point people to ourselves and to our ministries and our churches, instead of pointing people to Him? How often do we portray ourselves as the most important person, instead of Christ? He must increase, we must decrease.

Prayer: Father God, forgive me for the times I portrayed myself as important, instead of Christ. I pray for a humble heart and for a continued reverence for Your Son, Jesus Christ. May He increase, while I decrease every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Lambert Bariho Lambert served with a student ministry for five years before joining Ellel Ministries. Together with his wife Catherine, he currently leads the work of Ellel Ministries in Rwanda. His passion is to see people come to the knowledge of the truth of God and be set free.


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