He must become greater; I must become less.
These words were spoken by John the Baptist as he sought to make it clear that Jesus, and not him, was the long expected Messiah.
Many of John’s followers had left him to follow Jesus. The natural response to such a circumstance would be discouragement and hurt feelings.
John’s disciples wanted to know how he felt about the situation. Their questions remind me of modern day reporters. “You just lost the election. How do you feel?” “Your fumble caused your team to lose the game. How do you feel?” DUH. Of course, they feel awful.
But not John the Baptist. God had given him spiritual insight to see the big picture.
31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. John 3:31
John understood his role perfectly. “I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.” (v28) His place in the big picture was to herald the coming Messiah, to point to Him.
Jesus didn’t become greater because John became less. He was already greater. John meant that God had used him for His intended purpose and it was time for him to step aside.
One of the hardest things about living the Christian life is for us to step aside so Christ can accomplish His purposes through us.
To surrender to Christ is to put Him in His rightful position, on the throne of our lives. In that moment of decision, we willingly put Him there. But then we go back to living and whenever we make decisions contrary to His direction, we are in effect putting ourselves back on the throne. In that regard, we must become less so He can become greater.
To grow as Christians, there must be less of us and more of Him.
Less of me and you doesn’t make Christ greater. He’s already the epitome of greatness, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But less of us means we have wisely appropriated more of Him in our lives. More of Christ means we become more like Him. It also makes us more useable for the work of the kingdom.
What areas of your life do you continue to hold onto? Are there teachings and instructions from His word you have intentionally overlooked or failed to implement because they seem too hard to do? To become less and to allow His greatness to shine through you — obey and trust Him in everything.
Are there habits you intentionally overlook that do not honor God? Turn loose of them to become less that He might become more.
Recently, I installed a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. As a result, my wife and I have enjoyed mood lighting for special occasions. However, living for Christ was never intended to be lived through a dimmer switch. Jesus wants your light to shine brightly for all to see. In and of ourselves we have no light. Our light comes from Him and the only way to make it shine is less of us and more of Him.
The old motivation guru, Zig Ziglar, used to say emphatically, “You got to have goals.” The goal of every Christian should be to be less so our great Lord can shine through in all His glory.
For more on this topic, check out this article: When Running On Empty is a Good Thing
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.