August 23 I Thursday
1 Corinthians 6
“This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’” —John 1:30
When a baseball player hits a home run, no one celebrates the bat. His teammates cheer him on as he rounds the bases, ready to tackle him in an excited huddle as soon as he crosses home plate. The bat remains tossed to the side. Though the bat was the instrument by which the home run was hit, it is the skill of the person behind the bat who made it happen.
John the Baptist knew what it meant to be an instrument rather than the point of focus. When the Jewish leaders asked John who he was, he replied in the words of Isaiah, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’” (John 1:23). John’s purpose was to be an instrument, pointing to the arrival of the Messiah. His ministry involved inviting people to repentance and baptizing them, but he constantly proclaimed there was One coming after him who would baptize with the Holy Spirit to bring people into union with God.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29). John understood that Jesus was the Messiah and his mission was now to get people off of him and on to Jesus, but many of his followers never made that step. They had become fixated on John whose task it was to pave the way for Christ.
It is easy for things that are designed to represent Jesus Christ and to teach about Jesus Christ to become substitutes for Jesus Christ. Many of us have our favourite Bible teachers whom we faithfully listen to, but the potential danger is we might start to supplement their teaching for our own time spent with God. As Paul warned the Corinthians, “One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ’” (1 Corinthians 1:12). Our allegiance is not to be to a preacher, a doctrine, a church, denomination or the person God worked through to lead us to Christ but to the Lord Jesus Himself.
John the Baptist said of Jesus, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). As Christians, we are the instruments God uses, and our task is to point people to Christ and leave them with Christ. Follow up is important, of course, but a good disciple will wean new converts from dependence on them and allow the Spirit of God to work in that person’s heart, bringing them into a real and living relationship with Jesus so that they deal with Him directly.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, grow an attitude within me like that of John the Baptist. Help me remember that I am Your instrument to accomplish Your work for Your glory. Thank You, God.