“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 ESV).
John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for the Lord. In the above verse John had completed that task, and now he had come to the point of his ministry where it was time for him to fade into the background so that Christ would become center stage… But for us, as Christians, all of our ministry is about putting us in the background and putting Christ at center stage. Our ministry is a ministry of magnification, not of us, but of Christ; we are to magnify the glory of God in Christ by making Jesus appear to the eyes of the world as big, powerful, beautiful, delightful and desirable, and infinitely glorious as He is; through our worship, evangelizing, discipling, and holy lives of love and service we bring the glory of God in Christ into sharper focus for the watching world.
Most Christians know they are to make much of Jesus, and most Christians delight in making much of Jesus; but most Christians have a hard time putting themselves in the background. Unlike John the Baptist, our desire is that Christ would increase, and that we would increase with Him. We’re fine with Him having a bigger platform and being magnified, but there’s this hope or assumption that we would be made much of as well—that we’d have a bigger platform as well. But, that’s not our calling; our calling is to the background: He must increase, but we must decrease. And the reason we don’t like this is because it gets at the heart of our problem: pride…
At the heart or the root of all of our sin is pride. Even the good things we do can be done for prideful reasons; that’s why Scripture tells us, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Anything not done for the glory of God is sin, no matter how good it may seem. So true Christianity, true discipleship is costly: it requires much self-denial. As Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35 ESV). If our lives would be saved, if we would have eternal life, we must die to our pride, for His sake—to magnify Him… We must decrease so that Christ would truly increase in our life.
I am nothing; Christ is all!