Do you want Jesus to increase? Do you want people to see and turn to him? Do you want his kingdom to expand? I’m guessing you’d probably be willing to join me in saying, “He must increase!” But what about the next part? Are you willing to “decrease” for Jesus’s sake?
As Comparison Girls, we don’t often think of ourselves as “competing” with Jesus. We think of our “rivals” as the ones who might get the promotion, get the solo, get the guy, and so on. Yet here’s what we must recognize. Whenever our “look at me” craving is stronger than our “look at Jesus” craving, when we want to be lifted up more than we want Jesus to be, when we want others to admire us more than we want them to admire our Lord, that is when we have made Jesus our rival. Even if we simply ignore Jesus, saying, “I must increase!” it is clear that we are being influenced by the subtle voice of our enemy, who works tirelessly to infect us with his own jealousy, pride, and selfish ambition.
There is coming a day, the Bible tells us, when a man indwelled with Satan (the Antichrist) will exalt himself to such extravagant heights that he will slide into God’s seat in the temple and proclaim himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:4). This audacious self-exaltation is what got Satan kicked out of heaven in the first place, and it’s what will finalize his demise. “And then [Satan] will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (v. 8). Did you catch that? Jesus will show up and breathe on the guy, and this Satan-indwelled man will be annihilated! Who do you think will be exalted then?
Friends, our Jesus will not tolerate rivalry. He will not share his glory. He welcomes us into his kingdom as our King, or not at all. Jesus knows that we only flourish when we bow to his kingship—not when we march around like mini imperialists, expanding our own little crumbling empires.
Each occasion to insist on my own importance is also an opportunity to exalt Christ. Those times that I feel marginalized, belittled, or replaced are often my best opportunities to exalt Christ. By saying, with a big ole grin on my face, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” I make much of King Jesus.
For Meditation: John 3:30
He must increase, but I must decrease.
When I want to be lifted up more than I want Jesus to be lifted up, I have made him my rival. My freedom comes from living me-free. Lord, help me to find joy by placing myself off to the side in a story that’s all about you.