It’s 8:25pm at the moment, our turkey burger dinner is still on the stove, Matt is still outside seeding our grass and my cat is walking over my laklsdl;jtp[e pw ;… laptop (okay, I did that just for the effect). Seems like the perfect night to write!
So I’m just gonna go for it! Ever compare apples to oranges? No? Me neither, but I’ve compared myself to other people before. This morning I was reading through John 3. If you’re not a Christian or unsure of your faith, don’t ditch me yet! Just ask yourself this question:
Have you ever compared yourself to someone else?
In this story, John the baptist is doing his thing- baptizing people (TADA!), when his friends/Instagram followers… I mean, followers, got in a dispute with another Jew.
Basically they were like, “John, what the heck?! This guy you’ve been talking about…and paving the way for… What was his name again? Ohh yeah, Jesus… the one who was with you in the Jordan River that one time. Yeah, well now he’s baptizing people too and everyoneee is going to him. This Jew is saying the way Jesus baptizes is better than you. #jelly”
*Little Gina-embellishment there.* I can’t help it. You know you’ve been in a similar situation before or have thought something along these lines! You can find someone with a better life than you or a worse life than you. Comparing our career, kids, marriage, hobbies, clothing, clean house, charity work, vacations, body, talent, entertainment, even pets! To. someone. Else.
I LOVE the way John responds and I think, if we could even grasp half of what he did here, we would be in better shape:
“No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of him.’ He who has a bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
1. He understood spiritual things. He understood ultimate authority was given to Jesus. John had insight and a spiritual maturity that those around him, did not. When you’re in the Bible everyday, constantly feeding yourself with “good” stuff… it gets more difficult for the crappy stuff to seep into your thoughts. The truth is, the more you allow the Word to transform you from the inside out: your priorities change, you see things differently and for what they are, you gain security, etc. You learn about God’s character, which results in you learning about who YOU are. How? Because, you are made in His image. Basically, comparing yourself to someone else becomes harder to do, when you know who you are and who your God is.
2. He understood his calling. John didn’t get caught up in, “He’s doing this. She’s doing that. I’m only over here doing blahhhh.” John knew exactly what his purpose was in life and was completely content with it. He saw the value in his mission and thankfully, because he carried out his calling, we’re able to read and learn from it today. Imagine if John didn’t understand his calling and never pursued it? John who?! I believe, John’s mission was even more impactful because he never deviated from it. It is what makes him extraordinary. You can admire what someone else is doing but don’t become envious. Stay in the lane you we’re destined to be on!
3. He understood the second chair. John was okay with not being the top dog. AKA: The Messiah. Not like he had a choice in that… but he knew he was an awesome second chair. Not only that, he wasn’t embarrassed to share that with everyone. Jesus was a great leader, who had another amazing leader, John, who was a strong support to Him. Leading from the second chair is important! Who would Han Solo be without Chewbacca? I mean, REALLY! I rest my case. Truth be told, I’m second chair and I love it. When I do second chair right, I will always feel like I’m first. Why? Because I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.
4. He understood how to celebrate others. John rejoiced over the amazing things that Jesus was accomplishing and excited for what was to come! He didn’t pout in a corner of his cave. He never sat at his stone table, eating bugs with his disciples, trashing Jesus while patting himself on the back. He didn’t quit and say, “well, maybe I’m just a bad baptizer. I guess I just don’t dunk people right. I must hold them under the water too long… Maybe I’ll switch to fishing.” Nooo, John had character, and lifted Jesus up. When it comes to other people “winning” what is your first response? Are you genuinely happy for them or is there a piece of you that is frustrated they have what you want (or think you want)?
5. He understood increase by decrease. John served and served well. His heart was to see Jesus surpass Him because he saw the FULL/BIG picture. He had to decrease, so Jesus could increase and move forward into His calling, which ultimately saved the world. It sounds crazy to do! How many of us are actually willing to do something that sacrificial today?
So, next time you’re at a family gathering, out to lunch with your friend, in the break room at work, or stalking on social media… STOP! Remember there is only one you, meant to do what only you can do.