The Intentional Act of Lessening

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

Who does your world revolve around? For most, the world revolves around me. Life is about us. We count the responses we get on Facebook, love to be recognized and want to be somebody. Often we are unconsciously in competition for position, maybe power, affirmation from others, and often recognition. When we don’t get our way we can feel robbed and diminished. 

This is not a new issue. In fact, there was a brief overlap in the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus. Both were calling people to repentance and baptizing those who answered the call. After Jesus was baptized, many people gravitated away from John and toward Jesus and this became a source of consternation for John’s disciples who thought that John was not getting the recognition he deserved. They brought their concerns to John but his answer surprised them.

John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 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 perfectly captures the relationship between us and God when He said “He must become greater; I must become less.” Not only that, but John says this brings him joy. In that one sentence, John captures the essence of the Christian life. Life is not about us but about Him. That is a radical statement in a world that seeks to focus all of life around us as the center of the universe. In a world where nearly everyone believes that life revolves around them, John says, Jesus must become greater and I must become less.

John is saying that his job is not to lift himself up but to lift up the name and reputation of Jesus. Life is not about me but about Him. He is God. He is my creator. He is the one who redeemed me. He died to bring me into His eternal family. He holds my life in His hand. 

Here is one of the ironies of life. When we try to make life about us we diminish God and our lives become poorer and less fulfilling. But when we choose to make God the center of our lives, we experience life as we have never known it. Life centered on us is a diminished life but life centered on God is fullness of life.

There is a reason for this. When God created mankind he made him for fellowship with Him. But when Adam and Eve sinned, there was something great that was lost. This is why their sin is called “the fall.” We all suffer from that fall. Mankind fell out of relationship with God and lost the most meaningful part of life. 

Solomon spoke of this in Ecclesiastes 3:9-11. “What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Here is our dilemma. There is a hole in our hearts because we were made for God. He planted the seed of eternity in our heart and until we fill that place with Him, we live a diminished life. The more of Him we put into our lives and hearts, the more contentment and happiness we experience. Because life is really about Him and not us. In lessening our need to be at the center and placing Him at the center of our lives we experience true life. 

Here is how the Apostle Paul talks about the blessings we have in Christ. As you listen to this, think of the amazing gifts we have in Christ. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-10).

These are just a few of the amazing gifts we have as children of God. As we make life about Him we experience a whole new life and find the satisfaction and meaning we desire in the deepest places of our heart.

How do we become less so that He can become greater in our lives? It is a matter of focus and intention. Do we give Him time in our day so that we find ways to connect with Him? Do we conform our lives to His teachings so that we are following Him rather than ourselves? For many of us, the problem is that we are too busy to connect with Him. Personal busyness is a symptom that life revolves around us. Carving out quality time with Him is a sign that we want our lives to revolve around Him.

As you walk through the 40 days of Lent, consider finding some extra time each day to spend with God.  Maybe reading a few verses each day and then applying them to your life. Extra time to spend in prayer with Him. The more we focus on Him rather than on ourselves, the more we experience true life. 

Father, I pray with John today that my life would become less so that you become greater. And in that counterintuitive equation I thank you that you will bring me the most satisfying life I could ever have. Amen.

The question to consider today: How can I make more room for Jesus in my day?

  • Mar 03, 2022
  • Category: News
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