A Positive Decrease

Forward Day by Day, John 3:29-30, John the Baptist, Spiritual Growth, Letting Go

John 3:29b-30. “For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

I wonder what John the Baptist’s disciples are thinking when they hear him talk about becoming less. Their numbers are decreasing, and Jesus’ group of disciples are increasing. I can imagine them thinking, “And what are you going to do about it, John? This is a problem.” John only confirms the necessity of what is happening.

I wonder if John’s disciples understand that John is not talking about numbers, popularity, or success. Do they realize John’s words also apply to them? Jesus must increase, and John and his disciples must decrease. Do we realize this truth in our own lives?

When my boys were young, I took up more space in their lives—with power, personality, influence, and decision-making prowess. As they grew, engaged life, and became more fully themselves, I had to decrease, and they had to increase. This role reversal wasn’t a diminishment or rejection of me but rather a carving out of space for their life and increasing influence within me—a reorientation of our relationship. It wasn’t always easy, but it was absolutely necessary: “For this reason my joy has been fulfilled.”

If that’s true for life with our children and us, how much more is it true between the Son of God and us?

*Originally written for and published by Forward Day by Day.

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