John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John says something to his disciples that is perhaps the greatest challenge in the Bible for all Christians. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” There should be no leader among the people of God who doesn’t have this as their pledge, but it’s not just for leadership, it’s for everyone in the Body of Christ. There is a personal and private conforming aspect to this that we are a work in progress, not perfect but being perfected. There is also a public – How we live out our lives and what we do and say – aspect to it. Our lives should be occupied with things that glorify God. The fact that the Holy Spirit saw fit to place this within only a few verses of the great gospel discourse of the preceding verses is, I believe, important to consider. You see, as much as the Gospel is about personal salvation, once we are saved there is then a work of being conformed to the image of Christ as well as the taking on of a mission. And both that work and that mission mean we can no longer be about ourselves as we once were, but now we are about others, just as our Lord Jesus was about loving and serving others. In other words, Christ should be magnified by our behavior.
Scripture indicates the ways in which God relates to people and teaches the ways in which believers should behave.
God’s love: John 3:16 says God didn’t just love the world. God SO loved the world. And so we should seek not to adequately love others but fully committed to loving others.
God’s compassion: This is God’s ability to take pity and be sympathetic toward us. The Bible is full of scriptures about God’s compassion. An easy to grasp picture we find when Jesus comes along side the friends and family of Lazarus who had died and Jesus weeps with them. God’s compassion means we are not in this alone, and that as our Great High Priest (as the book of Hebrews says of Jesus) He is able to sympathize with us.
God’s grace and mercy: This gospel of John starts out with an incredible statement of God’s grace and mercy, saying:
John 1:14a And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
God could have left us as we were, but because He is merciful and gracious, He dwelt among us, suffered with us, suffered for us and by his death and resurrection made the way of salvation and eternal life by grace through faith.
God’s jealousy: Not that God is jealous of us as in a sinful jealousy, but He is jealous FOR US and against anything that could distract us from Him. God desires our full devotion. We reflect and acknowledge this in our behavior with one another. With our spouses, we do not desire to be more important to them than God is … We allow God to be first in that relationship. The same holds true in our relationship with our children and our friends … And the relationship will be all the better for it.
God’s patience: I’ll let Peter take this one:
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Long-suffering and Patience are the same thing … God is not being slack about the coming judgment but is being patient because He wants more people to be saved. We play an important part in that as ministers of the gospel into the world.
2 Corinthians 1:18-20 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says. For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.
God always does what He says He is going to do. His faithfulness has been tested by time and proven every time. If I can trust a friend who is able to lie, then surely I can trust God, who does not lie and Who has always kept every word of His promises. We model God’s faithfulness by doing what we say we are going to do, taking evident steps of faith, and seeking Him in all things.