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Christian Life

Bible Study: For God to Increase, We Must Decrease

Everyone likes to be noticed for something. I’m no exception. We all like to be recognized for the things we do well, and we prefer not to be recognized for those things we don’t do so well.

In the gospel of John, chapter 3, John the Baptist (two different people named “John,” by the way!) gives his disciples a quick lesson about this desire to be noticed.

He must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).

Remember, up to this point, John the Baptist and his disciples have been the superstars on the scene. John is preaching repentance and the coming kingdom of God, and they’re baptizing people right and left. John is getting people stirred up before Jesus even appears on the scene to start His ministry. John is the “It” guy, and his disciples are enjoying the recognition.

Then Jesus appears to start His ministry. He comes to John for baptism, and suddenly two paths open up before John: One leads to pride, the other to humility. John chooses humility. John could’ve become very prideful. He was baptizing the Messiah, after all! Instead, he chooses the path of humility, only agreeing to baptize Christ out of obedience when Jesus tells him it must be that way. John knew from the beginning that his time was temporary and that his job was only to prepare people until Jesus got there.

So Jesus begins His ministry, and now everyone is going to Him for baptism. Even some of John’s own disciples joined up with Jesus–remember Andrew, Peter’s brother? A few of John’s other disciples are getting a little stab to their pride because everyone has noticed Jesus, and they’re no longer in the spotlight.

They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here He is baptizing, and all are going to Him’ (John 3:26).

If you read that verse with kind of a whiny tone of voice, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the situation. John’s disciples were whining because they weren’t the hot new thing anymore. Then John reminds them that he specifically stated that he, John, wasn’t the Messiah and that he had only come to prepare the way for the Messiah. Now that Jesus is here, it’s time for John’s role to shrink and for Christ’s role to grow. This, John says, causes him to “rejoice greatly” (John 3:29).

This story always reminds me of the areas in my own life where I need to decrease so that Jesus can increase. Only when I do that–get out of God’s way–can He change my life and help me conquer my struggles. Only then can He make my life great in the way He always intended it to be.

One area where I need to decrease so Jesus can increase is in my speech.

Girls, are there areas in your life where you need to decrease and let Jesus increase? Share them with us in the comments so we can pray for each other!

John answered and said, ‘A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven’ (John 3:27).

More Stories Like This on Project Inspired:

Bible Study: What Does God Say About YOU?
Bible Study: Does God Always Want You to Try Again When You Fail?
Bible Study: Could You Be Standing in the Way of God’s Blessing?

Image: Hemera | ThinkStock + Project Inspired


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  1. Project Inspired

    Posted by tiffany2013 on June 30, 2013 at 20:06

    My speech as well. Good post!

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by hugsnkisses0706 on June 12, 2013 at 13:47

    I need to decrease my pride in the way I treat my mom and my crummy attitude. I need to let Jesus increase in my respect for my parents, others, and getting a more positive, and kind attitude. I also need to be less competitive because I treat everything like a contest and its REALLY wearing me down.
    so please pray for me to have more respect for my parents, a positive attitude, and to quit being so competitive.

  3. beautifymysoulgod

    Posted by beautifymysoulgod on June 8, 2013 at 16:06

    I think the knowledge I have about the bible and stuff.

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by emi1534 on June 8, 2013 at 08:21

    I need to decrease in my insecurities and trust God that I am great just how I am

  5. sisterwhocares

    Posted by sisterwhocares on June 7, 2013 at 16:17

    Definitely in my speech! I have a serious talking problem, and I need to decrease for God to increase. Only when He increases in my life can I listen to Him instead of me.

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by musiclover88 on June 7, 2013 at 13:52

    I need to let Jesus increase when I’m doing good deeds and I need to decrease. I also need to stop letting my own plans for my life get in the way of God’s plan for my life.

  7. Project Inspired

    Posted by Leya13 on June 7, 2013 at 13:24

    I think in speech. I’ve noticed that when I’m with my friends the things I say tend to bring attention to me and focus to me. But I’m realizing that that’s not doing much to honor or reflect God and that I don’t need to speak as much as I do because majority of the time it’s just pointless talk.

  8. worship

    Posted by worship on June 6, 2013 at 19:17

    I to decrease my pride in good deeds so that Jesus can shine through. I love this article! You brought up some really good points! 🙂