Joyful Voice

about“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 the prophet got it right. “He must become greater; I must become less.”

It is a constant bother to receive satanic genes passed from generation to generation since the fall. It is easier than I want to admit for “me” to be at the center of my life. I think about my hunger—although I never experienced it—my needs, my health, and for that matter—my everything.

It is a wonderful way to lead a joyless life.

I can learn a lot from the Baptizer. His parents must have assured him he was a miracle from God. He never forgot the Creator-given privilege of immersing God’s son and witnessing the Holy Spirit descend on the dripping wet Jesus.

Yes, he had down days when things weren’t easy and he needed reassurance of Jesus’ identity as Messiah. From his prison cell, he sent word to Jesus seeking renewed affirmation that Jesus was indeed Messiah.

He died by the hand of King Herod still firm in belief and in the joy of seeing the happy bridegroom prepare for His bride.

brideI want to be more like John. I want to be joyful in submitting to the Bridegroom.

Over the past several weeks, I lamented with you the guilt and sadness I feel in the roles each of us play in the division of Christ’s church. We seem to slice and dice His body without giving our actions a second thought.

My participation in the divisive process comes through insisting on my way. I want everyone to worship my way and I want everyone to believe my way. Where is Jesus in my church? Do I want Him to become greater while I become less?

That was the example of the cross. Jesus humbled himself to experience death and hell so I will not.

A church that rises from the cross is a church that experienced crucifixion. Rising from the waters of baptism, I left my old self in the water.

I entered pure, clean water and left murkiness behind. Self was crucified.

clear waterIn newness of life, I depend on the Spirit living within to keep pushing down my old buried self to the bottom of the tank.

Here is what I think.

If I will listen for the joyful voice of Jesus and allow Him to increase in my life—while not giving a rip if I become less—the great paradox will be I will become more in Jesus than I ever could be without Him.

It is through that process I can begin to recognize fellow believers, become less selfish, and in joy unite a few more cells within the body listening in joy for the Bridegroom’s voice.

Stay tuned.

Gary J. Sorrells – Reflection on Cross Church

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