He must become greater...I must become lesser...
"He must increase, I must decrease." - John 3:30
John the Baptist was credited with these 6 words of power. Another translation renders it this way: "He must become greater, I must become lesser." It's a simple phrase, but it packs a punch.
I've been pondering how much time I think about myself.
Things I like. Things I want. Things that make me look good. Things that I could do that would mabye make people like me more. Ideas I have that I'm fond of. There's alot of me going on in my head if I'm honest. And I'm only talking about the selfish stuff that deals with my desires.
There's also the inward focus that involves me basically thinking about my fears and failures--pecieved or pretend--and letting my brain kick me around like a hacky sack. I make huge demands and feel like anything less than great is a letdown and will lead to a setback. I can't really live under a crushing condemnation that beats me down, but oddly enough, this isn't what John was meaning when he said he wanted to "decrease".
He wan't hoping he'd feel miserable and dispicable. He was wanting his life to be about Jesus, that's all. And simply stated, it's difficult for Jesus to be the center of attention when we're vying for that lead role. He wanted to get out of the way so Jesus could be seen. He had quite a bit of ministry under his belt by this time...actaully more public experience than Jesus, so it would have been really easy to compare apples to apples. To get out the ledger and count beans, but he had no incination to do such silly things.
His life was about Jesus. Before Jesus made an appearance, John was paving the way for him--greasing the skids. He was preaching repentance and baptizing people who wanted to convert to following the coming Messiah. He was doing all this "forerunning" and "forthtelling" so that when Jesus came around the bend, well, John would be ready to point everyone following him to the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". You see, John knew why he came and he was about doing everything in his power to get the ball down the field. If he needed to tackle, he'd tackle. If he needed to block, that's what happened. He was ok with not touching the ball as much and just making sure Jesus had wide openings to bust through the lines making touchdown after touchdown. He didn't need the credit. He didn't want it. He simply wanted Jesus to be known, lifted up, followed, and believed upon.
John was grateful; Jesus was great.
I've been thinking about living more like that especially when things heat up a bit at times. When the pressure cooker is whistling and the natives are restless...just to take deep breath and say, "He's got this, I'm no big deal."
He's the one, I'm just pointer.
He's going to build the church, not me.
He's going to push back the gates of hell, not me.
John said elsewhere that he was not worthy to untie his sandals. That's how enthralled he was with Jesus. He said, "I am just a vioice of one in the wilderness preparing a way for the Lord." He seemed to know even before Jesus came on the scene his particular purpose and posture. I love that about him. He was anything but a pansy...this guy was eating locusts and wearing camel's hair clothes. He was a pretty barbarian really, unconventional and unafraid to stir things up a bit even if it got him into hot water. Let's put it this way...he wasn't in the Jesus movement because he was a "choir boy", afraid of what life might throw at him. Naw, he was a risk-taker and wouldn't bend for anything, save Jesus.
That's when he would bend and quiet down a bit. That's when we see him reliquish self and worship Jesus.
I pray to God that he pounds these six words into my brain no matter what it takes. I want to be about the exaltation of Jesus. Jason can be known for less as long as Jesus is known for more. Jason can feel less important so long as Jesus takes preeminence. Jason can struggle on days to know what depends on him and what depends on Jesus, but last I checked, the verse in John 15 doesn't say, "Without Jason I can do nothing."
"Without me you can do nothing." - Jesus. Another 6 words that hit like a hurricane. Another six words that say yet another way what John the Baptist was trying to articulate on that hot day in the early parts of John. Basically, Jesus is where it's at and I don't want to be doing anything to prevent him from getting the glory. It's about Him; it's not about me. He's using me, but I'm nothing but a humble servant of the Great High King of Majesty. Better is one day in His courts, than a thousand days elsewhere. (Psalm 84) He's that good.
Jesus, more than anything I want you to increase in every way possible and I'm wanting to decrease in any way necessarily to make that happen. I realize this has huge implications...teach me how to be like John the Baptist. I need this as I look to finish the race set out before me.
It's all about You, Jesus.