Advent Devotional

John 3:27-28 & 30

"John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”  One of the keys to being joyful and content in life is humility, and one of the steps to becoming a humble person is realizing that everything in life comes from God:  “a man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”  This includes the good and the bad.  Job said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10)
When John the Baptist was in prison awaiting execution and his faith faltered for a moment, what kept him going?  It was trusting in the sovereign will of God no matter what the cost, and realizing that the whole purpose of his life was to glorify Christ:  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Imagine if John started complaining because he felt that God was being unfair to him. If you think you deserve more than God has given you, that’s a recipe for bitterness and disappointment, and the main ingredient is pride.  No matter what situations you face today, try applying this principle:  “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

For Reflection & Discussion: Are you wrestling with any feelings of disappointment or bitterness?  What are some healthy ways for you to deal with those emotions?

Prayer: Father, forgive me for acting like I’m the center of the universe rather than You.  Forgive me for acting like You exist to make me happy and fulfill my desires.  I thank You for the good things in my life and the bad.  Help me to decrease so that Christ might increase in me and be glorified through me.  Amen.
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