John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27-30)
Do You Need to Increase or Decrease?
John the Baptist, who understood his role as the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah, was asked a question, once Jesus began his ministry and many people started following him. His response is quoted above. It is another example of John understanding who he was and who he was not... what his calling was and what it was not. Now that Jesus was stepping out onto the world’s stage, John says that “... my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29b-30)
This leads me to ask this question: Where in your life do you need to increase, and where do you need to decrease?
Here are some thoughts to give that question some context:
When you are a part of a group, are you mostly talking or mostly listening? Which of these practices - in you - needs to increase, and which practice needs to decrease... for the good of the group, and for the good of your own development as a human being?
If our Christian life includes equal parts contemplation and action, which of these - in you - needs to increase and which needs to decrease? Or, are you satisfied with the balance?
If our Christian life includes both giving and receiving, both loving and being loved... take stock for a moment. Are you content with this balance, or does something need to be adjusted?
In the realm of giving and receiving feedback - speaking the truth in love and receiving the truth in love - take a moment to reflect upon your life. Is one of these more developed than the other? In which area is God urging you to increase or decrease?
If our health and wholeness includes attention to our body, mind, spirit, and relationships, which of these is crying out for more attention? Is one of them getting almost all the attention - even too much attention?
In the love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength... love your neighbor... love yourself trifecta - which one needs more attention right now?
Where do you need to increase in 2018? Where do you need to decrease?
Let us take some time this week to ask these questions, and - with the help of Spirit’s guidance - let us make the changes that we are being asked to make. And... if all is going well, let us rejoice and give thanks to the Lord!