Friday, May 22, 2015

Decrease Our Self Importance

Scripture Text: John 3:22-36

John the Baptist is one of the most fascinating characters in the New Testament. He does not play by all the religious rules, lives out in the wilderness, dresses in eccentric ways, and is really clear about who he is and who God has called him to be.

After baptizing Jesus, John continues the work of baptism among the people in preparation for their encounter with the Messiah. The disciples of John get a little worried because all of a sudden they find Jesus baptizing people. In their view Jesus is stealing John's role but that is not at all how John understands the situation. In fact John is excited about his decreasing role and in the increasing role of Jesus.

Oswald Chambers wrote, "We should never be late to the funeral of our own self-importance." John the Baptist I am sure would have celebrated these words as they were embodied in his life. John was willing to see his importance reduced so that Christ could be lifted up. The greatest end to John's life was not connected to his own importance.

If our own importance is the chief end in our life we will find struggle in following Jesus and struggle in marriage. We must be willing to take on the attitude of John the Baptist in our relationship to Jesus and do the same in our marriage. Jesus must be greater than ourselves, and we must be willing to put our spouse ahead of ourselves.

This is not easy work as there seems to be something about being human that is driven by our own importance. All too often we are faced with the radical call of Jesus or following what we think is better. Additionally, we wrestle to put our spouse ahead of ourselves. Perhaps the key is to remember some things from John. First, John understood his role in preparing the way for someone else to have the glory. Second, John was clear that his importance must decrease as Jesus' increased. Third, John kept his focus on the ultimate goal, that more and more people would find grace, hope and love in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

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