Step Back

Sunday, June 22, 2003

John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease. (KJV)

Three years ago, I joined the line to get a visa in Nairobi, Kenya, for entry into Holland. I was soon at the counter, and was conversing with the consular officer sitting behind the glass window, as she examined my documents. The gentleman who was next in line at my back had crossed the line on the floor, and was leaning close behind. Suddenly, the consular officer took her eyes off me for a brief moment, and questioned the man behind me, "Are you with her?" "No," came the gentle reply. "Then step back!" she responded sharply.

This event has been deeply etched in my memory, and I have recalled it many times over, as I have observed people in a queue — at banks, bus and train stations, and supermarkets — waiting to be served. The difference was that on those occasions, no-one had to tell them, "Step back!" but out of common sense or courtesy, they politely stepped back, not wanting to go into anyone's personal space.

John the Baptist illustrated this concept well, when he said in the words of today's Scripture text, "He must increase, but I must decrease." He understood well that his calling was to prepare the way for Jesus Christ, who was the Messiah, sent to bring salvation to a lost and dying world. John the Baptist made a declaration about Jesus in John 1:30: "This is he of whom I said, 'After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.'" (KJV) When we accept Jesus as Lord, Saviour, and Master of our lives, we learn to "step back", and let Him have the forefront. In essence, we decrease, and His life, His wants, His thoughts, His love, His purpose, and His plans for eternity increase in our lives.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for the precious gift of salvation we have through Christ Jesus. We pray that we may grow in Him, and, as we do so, we may step back, and let Him have His way in our lives. In Jesus' mighty name we pray. Amen.

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Caroline Otieno <>
Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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