Read John 3:29-30 and 6:29.
“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’” Luke 12:15
When we give our lives to God and His work, we are called to give up all of our own desires in exchange for God’s desires. But sometimes that can be difficult. It’s in our sinful nature to want to only advance our own interests and not God’s. We don’t blatantly sin; we do good things. We just crave recognition for it.
Often times, we consider ourselves good people. We long to totally follow God, we obey His commands, and we spend time with Him every day. We’re good Christians. If we’re not careful, we can become prideful, looking at our lives as if we accomplished all this good instead of God. This is what can cause that feeling that we want recognition for the good we’re supposed to be doing for God. Once we realize we’re being proud, we tend to immediately check ourselves, but it can be hard to get to that place of realizing it stems from pride.
Pride can come from a lot of things: comparing ourselves to others, wanting to impress someone, and just being too self-centered instead of focusing on God. But God’s character crushes pride and produces humility because of His holiness, perfection, and righteousness we could never hope to attain on our own. We realize God truly is the center of it all.
So what mindset should we have? John the Baptist described it for us. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the church, His bride, belongs solely to Him. We’re simply the friend of the Bridegroom. When you go to a wedding, how many people honestly care about the groom’s friend? No one really, the whole focus is on the new couple. How would we judge a best man who tried to steal the guests’ or bride’s attention from the groom? So it is with us. We don’t want to divert anyone’s attention away from Jesus, especially not the church and especially not to look at lowly us. But that’s what we do when we strive for attention.
The friend himself is focused wholly on the Bridegroom, as we should be. This is where our joy comes from. Jesus told us that the work God has given us is to believe in Jesus. If we believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, then we can eagerly and happily follow Him and put Him first. We should long for Jesus to be so evident in us that no one notices us; they only notice Him. We have to be willing to become anonymous so His Name can be known. As John said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)
How would you feel if tomorrow or the next day, Jesus totally stole the show of your life? The people around you only knew you as “that Christian” or “Jesus freak.” Your church expected you to act with love and kindness to everyone and to tell others about Jesus. You were suddenly helping a family from out of state change their flat tire while telling them about your faith. Would you be really excited, or feel really forgotten?
Obviously, our lives aren’t just going to be taken over like this (much to some people’s relief), but the point is to come to the place of wanting and asking for your life to be like this: an obvious witness of God’s love to the point you are not just you anymore, you are Christ’s body. We have to be able to see evidence in our lives that God has changed us and is continuing to change us to be more like Jesus. We need to be “full of joy” to hear the Bridegroom’s voice (see John 3:29).
It’s a wonderful paradox of giving up your wants and finding what you’ve actually always wanted, just not in the way you would have expected. It comes when we honestly give ourselves up so we can be like Jesus, and we can only do this when we’re focused on God alone.
Lord, thank You that we can be like You! Thank You that You have called us to be like You! Please help us surrender and submit every part of ourselves to You. And please keep us focused on You, Jesus. Please help us want to be like You! All glory to You Lord! Please steal the show! In Your Name i pray Jesus Christ our Lord. Hallelujah! You will! Amen.