He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30
This verse doesn’t say, “He must succeed, and I must suck.” There is nothing wrong with excellence and success, or initiative and innovation, unless it takes Jesus’ place in your life. We don’t need to fail to make Jesus a winner. He’s already won.
A little cat adopted us. I say, “adopted,” he’s really just freeloading on the cat food bowl in the backyard. He’s a cute little kitten, a nice gray Russian Manx. He stayed around this morning while I filled the bowl. His hunger overcame his fear of me.
Thinking that he was warming up to me, I moved the relationship forward a little too fast. I reached to pick him up. He arched his back, he hissed, he scratched, and he got me (somebody call Ted Nugent). That kitty was being as fierce as he possibly could be. It was just cute. It was laughable. He can scratch a little (I bear the wounds), but he didn’t leave me reeling in fear.
He was threatened. He was insecure. This was his natural instinct. It was all he had.
Following John the Baptist’s example, we are not encouraged to become less because God wants us to feel worthless. We are directed to become less because our tendency is to become more. We want to live large. We want to be bigger than who we are. We want to be admired and respected. We want to be sought out. Everyone on Facebook and Twitter is crying out to be acknowledged. I mean at least let me be the mayor of Something on Foursquare. (Good grief, that little Russian Manx is apparently mayor of my own house.)
So, here’s the deal: we are of great worth to God, because He paid a painful price for us. He gave His Own Son (John 3:16). We have Jesus, and that is enough. In success and in defeat, in triumph and in failure, Jesus is enough. He becomes greater, and we ride His coattails. We get out of the way, and others see Jesus in us. People will say, “You’ve changed. You’re more patient, polite or kind.” Our secret: it’s Jesus in us.
How does Jesus want your spouse to be loved? How does Jesus want your kids to be treated? How does Jesus want your boss (yes, that one) to be respected? Notice, I didn’t say, “What would Jesus do?” That’s fine. But, those thoughts tend to be moralistic and just place a heavy burden on us. The more important question is: What is Jesus doing through your life? How are you letting Him take the forefront of your life? How are you backing down?
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