less of me…
John the Baptist was one.weird.dude. but I really like him.
He was potentially the first Jesus freak.
He lived in the wilderness by himself, wore clothes made of camel hair, and ate locusts and honey for food.
Not your average Joe…or John.
I bet he didn’t fit in with anyone.
I’m sure few people understood his radical lifestyle and sold out behavior; he preached about the coming Messiah with boldness and authority. His life mission was to prepare the way for Jesus. Everything he said and did pointed to him.
His devotion was admirable.
The book of John, chapter 3, recorded something that John the Baptist said about his life in relation to Jesus that really struck me:
He must increase, but I must decrease.
What an amazingly humble attitude.
The world tells you to look out for #1, seek wealth and fame and promotion, do whatever is best for you.
It tells you to put yourself first.
Chase whatever makes you happy.
He spoke the truth and it was so simple: I must become less and less so that Jesus can become greater and greater.
John knew it wasn’t about him. Or making his name known. Or having a large following.
He knew his life purpose was to point people to Jesus, to be a witness for the coming King.
Even if that meant living like a weirdo in the wilderness to do it. Even if it meant his whole life was dedicated to making someone else known.
He must increase and I must decrease.
It sounds simple enough, but in my experience, decreasing is not pleasant or fun.
The process of decreasing yourself is painful and difficult. And humbling.
I’m living proof.
Six years ago, I had a thriving acting and modeling career, was serving in a church, and was attending seminary with big plans to go into ministry. Life was good. But then God asked me to stop doing all of those things and give Jesus to my family, to take them with me on my journey of reckless abandon. I said yes, because even though I didn’t understand it, I wanted his plan for my life, and not my own.
And that’s why eight months ago, I found myself sitting on my basement floor, holding a colicky newborn who wouldn’t stop crying, trying to comfort my hysterical 3-year-old, all while pumping because nursing wasn’t working. I hadn’t showered or left the house in 10 days, oreo cookies were my lunch, and I felt totally alone and stuck. Like a prisoner in my own home.
It was a low point for me. Depression loomed over my head like a dark cloud, because day-to-day life was so exhausting. Being a servant to your family, even if by choice, is demanding. I couldn’t see the end of it, and it overwhelmed me.
I cried out to God, sitting there on the floor, surrounded by chaos, and pleaded, “Help me Jesus! I used to be…so smart. So fun. So sparkly. Now, I’m none of those things. Is this your plan for me? I feel like I am dying down here. I am totally disappearing.”
And as soon as I said it outloud, I realized I was exactly where God wanted me.
Disappearing was really just decreasing.
This was all part of his plan so that I could decrease and he could increase in me.
I needed to decrease all the pride and vanity and self-sufficiency that was Minta so that I could be remade with Christ. His power in me. His truth in me. His strength in me, shining out to point others to him.
Decreased of everything but Jesus, I relied on him in ways I never had to before. I stopped caring about having a beautiful home, or looking just right, or achieving a career. None of those things mattered. Instead, my loneliness forced me to focus on seeking and serving the savior, which I didn’t do when I was distracted with the things of this world.
It was like I was brought to the wilderness, to wear camel hair clothes, and eat locusts and honey. I became a total weirdo like John…more radical. But Jesus increased in me.
Less of me, more of Jesus.
Practically, it meant that I started to read the Word everyday. I started to speak more truth. I started to pray more fervently. I started to write, for his glory alone. Increasing him in every area meant more of him flowing out of me.
The more I chase after him, the more convinced I become that we need to be people who are less desperate for things of this world, and more desperate for Jesus.
Less desperate for money and more desperate for his Kingdom.
Less desperate for our plan and more desperate for his purpose.
Less filled with pride and more full of his glory.
We must decrease, so he can increase.
John the Baptist had it absolutely right.
Dear friend, I don’t where you are in the faith journey. But I do know that Jesus is waiting, with open arms, to increase in your life. If you come to him in surrender, he will respond and begin to fill you up in increasing measure. So let’s be people who seek to make him greater and greater, while we become less and less.
As always, I love hearing from you. Comment below or email me and I would love to get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
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