Posted by: mikenicholsblog | July 13, 2015

shine the spotlight

We are all guilty! Guilty of the comparison game, which at its core, drives us with a desire to feel good about ourselves … often at the expense of others.  We can all deny it, but there is something within us which craves the spotlight. I could name a myriad of scenarios where our desire to be first or a need to be recognized as the best somehow rises to the top of our emotional wish list. It is natural, and can even be healthy, to strive to be the best and rise above in our professional and personal lives.  The problem is almost always with our motives. I will use an example from my own life to illustrate. There is no question I want to be the best, and a leader with my company.  My struggle is when that desire feeds my need to feel good about me, and not about shining the spotlight on my Savior.  A verse (John 3:30) from my distant past gives clarity to how I (and you) should let every part of our lives be motivated.

He must increase, but I must decrease. (KJV)

John the Baptist had the credentials to be a “look at me and what I’ve accomplished” kind of guy. After all, he was:

  • a relative of Jesus Christ
  • baptized the Savior
  • the one chosen to “prepare the way for the coming Messiah.”

In the feel-good-about-myself world we live in today, it is refreshing to see how John the Baptist responded when there was a chance to play the comparison game with Jesus.  In writing about the characters of Scripture this year, we have chosen the phrase “their story is our story” as our mantra. Living with the humility John the Baptist showed in John chapter three should be the story to live by for all Christ-followers.  No matter how big the temptation is to shine the spotlight on ourselves, Christ-followers have the capacity to shine the spotlight on our Savior.  The question is, “will we?”

John the Baptist’s ministry overlapped the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. In the latter part of John chapter three, a conflict arises. Before John the Baptist was thrown into prison, he was baptizing at a place called Aenon.  John’s disciples became disturbed because people were following Jesus instead of John. Can’t you picture our modern-day comparison games? The issue at hand was over ceremonial cleansing. His disciples came to him with these words, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” If I was John the Baptist, it would have been easy to say, “Yeah! Why is everybody going to Him?!” … but not John!

He handled the situation marvelously, and shone the spotlight on the Son of God. John used a great illustration comparing Jesus as the bridegroom, and himself as the best man. Even today, a wedding is one place where a best man always defers the spotlight to the groom. After the illustration, John gives wonderful words about the Savior, which all of us should exemplify in every relationship.

Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
John 3:29b-30 (NLT)

John the Baptist displayed the humility which exalted Christ and lessened his own importance.  Shouldn’t it be the goal of all Christ-followers to naturally shine the spotlight on Christ? He must increase, but I must decrease.

I look at John the Baptist as a man who was a straight-shooter. He called people to repentance and prepared the way for the Messiah. So let me be a straight-shooter with you today. Would those around you at home, at work, and in your church say of you, “His/her life is characterized by exalting the Savior”? In essence, saying your life spoke “He must increase, but I must decrease.” If you are struggling with those words, simply bow your head and commit your walk to their meaning … I promise your life will change!

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