Recently both Daniel and John in their teachings have discussed John the Baptist and his response to the increasing popularity of Jesus away from his ministry. Daniel said that John the Baptist realized and admitted to the fact that he wasn’t “the big deal” (John 1:20). The big deal was Christ. John (McLeod) taught on the passage where one of John the Baptist’s disciples was lamenting that “all are going to him,” referring to the crowds flocking to see and hear Christ. In chapter 3:27-30 John responds to his disciple in a wonderful way ending with “he must increase I must decrease.”
John was the one of whom Jesus said “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater” (Matt. 11:11). Thus, if he was called to decrease and did so joyfully then surely we should follow his example. And to the extent we do will help determine either much frustration or much joy in our lives.
When we think that life centers around us–which is a lot of the time!–our life will be filled with a series of episodes that lead to frustration, anger and being ruled by the flesh. If we would diagnose the struggles we routinely run into, the root cause would often be that people don’t treat us as the “big deal.” We might not readily admit to this, but it is at the core of much selfishness in life.
The next time you run into a situation where you are getting angry or there is conflict within your soul use it as a red flag that is signaling that something is amiss. Ask yourself what is it that you are not getting that you really want (James 4:1-2 )? Is it respect, honor or ease of life? Use it also as an opportunity to decrease and allow Christ to increase.
When we do so there is much joy. Life as a Christian, life lived in the Spirit, is one in which we are called to consider others more important than ourselves–they're the big deal!–and to look to their interests as well as our own (Philippians 2:1-7).
The next time time you realize that the discomfort you feel is because you’re not being treated as the “big deal,” use it as an opportunity to put off the old self and put on Christ. He was the one who emptied himself, took the form of a servant and humbled himself even to the point of death. Let us go and do likewise!