“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 ESV)
Here at City Church, I have been preaching thru the gospel of John. In the later portion of chapter 3, we get a conversation between John and some pharisees. I would encourage you to read verses 22-36 to totally get this post, because it is here in this conversation that some questions can be asked to ourselves today that will shake us to our core.
John is reminding the Pharisees of who they are and who God is. The text places us where John is baptizing, and Pharisees come to John and basically ask him, how it feels to be second place? They are asking him who does this Jesus think he is? John’s reply shakes me.
We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Roles will begin and they will end. And the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus has increased and we have decreased. A movement of HE>I has become popular these days. Even some have gotten tats of it, but its more than a cute saying or a sweet tattoo. There is deep meaning here.
This post is about a statement John gives that makes us ask some questions. This is not meant to leave you comfortable, but to challenge you. Four questions that will shake you spiritually.
What happens in your heart at the thought of God lifting someone else up?
You see it’s His party. He lifts who he wants to lift. Are you ok with Jesus letting someone else be bigger than you? Are you, like John, ok with playing second fiddle, what about 3rd fiddle? What about the bench? What about no name recognition and you just do the work? What about when God blesses someone else and not you? Do you get jealous? Do you ask why them and not me?
How much do you long to have a more prominent position?
I have met many people, I have yet to meet anyone without an ego. Period. Most people long for better days and a better life. Nothing wrong with that. But if God called you to work, and you won’t work, dont get mad when your not blessed? If you are constantly wanting to have a title, or be known, or just have something else…you are missing where you have been placed right now! It doesn’t mean don’t dream big, or don’t have vision, but so many today are living for the future that they waste today. While many others are so focused on today that they miss the future.
Know your role. Do what your commanded to do right where you are. God may have you baptizing in a dirty Jordan River, and if that’s where your supposed to be, than don’t leave for the cleaner water up the river.
How well are you prepared to end the role he has given you?
I was asked recently, what my future plans were for ministry. Whenever your successful at something or unsuccessful, people start asking whats next? The truth is that until God moves you, you don’t go anywhere. If God tells you jump, then jump. And you’ll know God if your reading and praying and communicating with God. As for me, I’m all in for detroit. God said move here, work here, plant churches here, live here, help here, preach here, raise a family here, change the world starting right here. I am prepared to die obeying what I am told to do. Are you prepared to do what God has told you to do?
For some it could be small or big like church attendance, or just praying/reading your Bible. It is giving tithes and offerings, getting involved. It means being the church, rather than just playing dress-up church. For everyone it is being a follower, its listening and learning. If you have already started obeying…how long till you quit? What will have to happen to make you quit doing what your supposed to? Or if you have been delaying your obedience, what is holding you back from obeying now?
What if he gives your role to someone else?
This one hits me in the heart, and stings a bit. What if what I thought was my mission, was just my dream. And God’s vision for me is different than my dream. You see we all dream. Some good, some nightmares. Visions are from God and missions are what he calls us to do for the rest of our life. Don’t confuse them.
The wedding is not about us. It’s about Him. And we never want to compete with the Bridegroom for the bride’s attention and affection. So if God lifts someone else into what was my dream, I should be glad for them. I should rejoice for them.
Let me rap this up…
As I think of John in the story, he was the number one guy and was about to lose his spot. He was about to go from the man out front to….the guy who gets martyred. He was quite literally going to decrease. While we may not have to die for Christ in our lifetime, would you or I live for Him? The answer to that question is answered but what you do today.