Are you skeptical of “get rich quick” schemes? Do you doubt the sincerity of the weight loss guru who assures you only five minutes of his exercise program each day is needed to lose unwanted pounds? Are you curious about the newest kitchen gadget that promises the ability to cook an entire side of beef in less time than it takes to make a salad to accompany the meal? “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” are wise words to heed when you are tempted to take shortcuts.
With such a sentiment in mind, you may wonder why I selected a title like the one you read at the beginning of this article. How can you suggest the awesome task of following Jesus can be reduced to just seven words? There has to be a catch, right? There is no fine print, no disclaimer, no loophole to these seven words. What is even more remarkable? An individual who was not even a Christian spoke them! Now, this is beginning to sound outrageous and beyond belief, and you may be tempted to stop reading, but please do not.
The seven words are recorded in John 3:30. John the Immerser, or as he is better known by many as John the Baptist (though John the Immerser is a more accurate rendering of Matthew 3:1; 11:11-12, Mark 6:24 and other mentions in the New Testament) uttered these words in response to some of his followers who were troubled about the new fame of Jesus.
John was the forerunner the Old Testament prophets had said would prepare the way for the Messiah, and this he did in a wonderful way. However, would you or I have acted as he did, or would we seek the glory, fame, and popularity for ourselves? I am not sure what you would have done if faced with this sort of situation, but I do know what John did.
“He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” All who wish to be a follower of the Lord must abide by these seven words. John states simply that his life was taking a backseat to the life of Christ. While our circumstances are different than his, if we are going to follow our Savior, then we must do the same.
Yes, I anticipate some objections by asserting Gospel commands are to be obeyed and other specified duties cannot be neglected. Of these, I am informed, but these seven simple words are concise, yet complete when understood properly, and they will lead all who follow them in the footsteps of Jesus. I pray daily to follow closely, and I hope to help others do the same.
Who is increasing and who is decreasing in your life?