He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30 NIV
I don’t usually shy away from being honest in Messy Worship but this week’s topic is going to push my transparency comfort zone. It’s very challenging to admit this one publicly: I struggle A TON with comparing myself to others. There are so many talented, smart, artistic, athletic, charismatic, etc. women in our world that I just don’t measure up to.
If I would just leave it as a simple thought and a reason to celebrate God’s gifts among us, that would be AWESOME. Unfortunately, most times I don’t. It starts out as a passive observation but it quickly transforms into “I wish I were as __________ as her.” Of course then that puts the focus on my own shortcomings, and it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from trying to find something WRONG with her just so I feel better about myself again.
And I know I’m not alone in this one. I know a few brave souls who have confessed they struggle with this, too. Why do I – do we as a culture – do this to each other? “If YOU are beautiful, I must be UGLY.” Or, “If that’s what strong is, I must be weak.”
I was thinking about this as I read John this week. John’s whole purpose was to prepare the world for the Savior’s coming and he ROCKED at that job. But, no matter how good he was at his job, he would never be as awesome as the Savior. I wonder if that ever got to him? Did satan ever tempt John to knock Jesus down a few notches just to feel better about himself? It doesn’t look that way in the Bible. In fact, it was actually the opposite. When John’s buddies came to John saying “Hey! Look! Everyone’s going over to JESUS now to get baptized instead of YOU!!” John didn’t even skip a beat; check it out:
26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. It’s not MY job/MY skill/MY appearance/MY success/MY intelligence in the first place! There’s nothing for ME to be jealous of. His response is not one of comparison or competition but one of joy and celebration. He is calm and confident in taking a backseat to Jesus’ ministry. He must become greater; I must become less.
Who am I to be treating anyone else (and their gifts) as something to be jealous of. God gave me my gifts just the same as you yours. God loves me the same as you. If he is glorified by your gifts one day – AWESOME. If he is glorified by my gifts the next day – AWESOME.
In the end, I need to stop being about me.
I need to stop being about me vs. you.
I get to simply be about him.
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me that I have nothing to fear, nothing to compare, nothing to be jealous of. You have given me all that I have. You have given every person all that they possess. To fight and compare is to waste time that I could be using to glorify YOU together with my friends. Help me remember this every moment of every day. Amen.