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     They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:26-30 
    “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. John 17:13
     Dear Lord Jesus, I’m not sure about a wardrobe of camel’s hair clothing and a diet of locusts and wild honey (Matt. 3:4), but I am sure I want more of John the Baptist’s joy—the joy of you becoming greater while I become less. Indeed, John leapt for joy at the very thought of you even before he was born (Luke 1:39-41). For your glory, and the benefit of many others, bring this kind of joy to my soul.
     This kind of joy would free me to be much more preoccupied with you and your delights, as opposed to me and my demands. This kind of joy would free me from my insecurities and a desire (need) for the approval of others. I would be quicker to see your image in all people, and slower to be critical, irritated or dismissive of anybody.
     I would be less obsessive about being understood, or being in control of people, circumstances and stuff. I would be more focused on your transforming kingdom and less concerned about my little fiefdom of personal peace and affluence. I would play more and not put a governor on my emotions. I would be more spontaneous and generous—more likely to say “Yes!” than “No!”
     Rejection would still hurt, but not as much. Failing wouldn’t be fun, just lest defining. Betrayals would still sting, but not kill. Aging wouldn’t be any more welcome, just not leading to us much whining and vanity. Brokenness and weakness would still be realities in my life, but things to boast in and run to you, rather than things to pretend about and run to shame.
     Jesus, now that I think about it, the joy you’re praying we’ll be full of is quite dangerous stuff. It won’t leave anything alone or the same. I still want it. In fact, all the more and more than ever. I cannot imagine the joy that’s going to overtake us when you show up the next time as our glorious Bridegroom. Hasten that Day. Hallelujah what a Savior you are! Hallelujah what a salvation you give! So very Amen I pray, in your matchless and merciful name.

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One thought on “A Prayer about the Joy of Becoming Less”

  1. Mary says:

    Yes Lord, Yes Lord AMEN!

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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