In this week’s teaching, we got a glimpse of a profile of John the Baptist — and we saw a picture of how humility is the secret to lasting joy.
Before we jump into our time in the Bible and prayer, let’s take a few moments to be real with each other around the topic of joy. This is a challenging question… Do you experience true joy regularly or does it seem to be elusive to you? Try to push beyond “yes” or “no” answers into heart level thoughtfulness.
Read this from the Bible together:
22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).
25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John the Baptist intentionally decreases his status so that Jesus’ status would increase. Can you think of any other examples of someone in history or your personal story who demonstrated humility to help someone else become successful or great?
Do you believe it’s possible to be truly joyful apart from making more money, being more interesting, seeing more things?
Consider these quotes and how you would respond to them:
“The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: life is a story about me.” —Donald Miller
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” —G.K. Chesterton
What is Jesus currently doing in your life that you need to rejoice in?
Where in your life can you decrease self-interest and emphasize Jesus?
If you believe life is not a story about you… do you need to realign your priorities in how you spend time, money and other essentials to agree with your belief?