“He must increase, but I must decrease.” ~ John 3:30
Can you imagine being one of Jesus’ relatives living in His shadow? Especially during His adult years. In fact at one point, some of them thought He was crazy (Mark 3:21). Then when they wanted to talk with Him, He said “Who are my mother and my brothers? …those sitting in [this[ circle… are my mother and my brothers!” (Mark 3:33-34) From their perspective, it must have been hard to watch a member of their family do and say the incredible things Jesus did. Fortunately, the New Testament and church history tell us that some of those in His earthly family believed after His resurrection.
John seems to have been different, though. From the beginning, John had an honest understanding of his role within God’s salvation plan. Jesus had to be front-and-center. “One who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.” (Luke 3:16) “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) John did not seek fame and spotlight. His mission was to be “a voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord.” (John 1:23)
God, help me have a true understanding of my role within Your kingdom work. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, help me “lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares [me and] run with endurance the race that lies before [me], fixing [my] eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of [my] faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“Jesus answered them, ‘You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.’ ” ~ Matthew 22:29
Sometimes we reduce our salvation to going to heaven when we die. Of course, heaven is part of our salvation, but the depth of our salvation is vast. Psalm 18 mentions several key attributes of God regarding in our salvation: Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, and Stronghold.
Each of these attributes are meant to be help us as we go through life. Life has a lot of ups and downs, and at different points in life, we have specific needs only God can fill. In difficult times, for example, we rely on God to be our refuge, or when circumstances or people come against us, we need God to be our fortress or deliverer.
Jesus said “I have come to give you life to the fullest.” Other translations say “life abundantly.” Part of God’s plan for giving us abundant life is His provision and protection for us during this life. This shouldn’t be misunderstood, however, as protection from bad things or difficult circumstances. In fact, Jesus said much to the contrary: You will have suffering in this world. (John 16:33, emphasis added) Even here, though, Jesus immediately followed this warning with a victorious statement that should bring peace and comfort to every follower of Jesus: Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
God, help me to rely on You when I face troubled times as my Protector because You have conquered the world.
“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” John 4:13-14 (CSB)
Have you ever been really thirsty? Maybe after a long workout or run. Maybe working out in your yard on a hot summer day. Maybe you’ve been oversees or in a desert area of the US. Do you remember what it was like when you finally got that first sip of water? For most of us, that feeling of quenched thirst is an incredible relief. What’s interesting, though, is that as relieving as that drink of water was, at some point afterwards your thirst returned. You needed another drink of water.
Our bodies were created to yearn for water. In fact, water is a necessity for life. It’s no surprise that Jesus used water as a metaphor for Himself, calling Himself Living Water. Ever since humanity’s relationship with God was broken by sin, our spirits deeply yearn to be reconciled with their Creator.
David cries out “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.” (Psalm 63)
What a picture! For me, too often my spiritual thirst wanes. I long to be close to God, but the things of the world distract my attention away from the only One who can completely satisfy.
God, may my spiritual thirst for You match the intensity of my physical thirst.