Originally published Saturday, 29 October 2011.
Have you ever thought about how many times a day we withhold goodness from people?
Honestly, me either ... until the other day.
Like you, I often find myself pushing through frustrating situations in life. They vary greatly from the annoyance of a long line at a grocery store to a relationship where I have felt dishonored.
Life's frustrations -- whether big or small -- often leave me feeling invincible, overlooked or ignored.
Sometimes because of the way life leaves me feeling, I start to believe that God sees me that way too. It becomes easy to confuse what happens on this earth with what is being done through heaven.
As a tragic result of goodness being withheld, often the cycle of God's love, peace and joy stops flowing through us.
The other day I was thinking about this and I came across a thought that will not leave me alone.
It was in John 3:30: "He must become greater; I must become less."
What a counter-culture message that is.
We as a society thrive off of being first, being the best, having the most and then ... doing a reality TV show about it all. From a early age we are taught in order to be more, we must do more.
As we are busy focusing on all the things we need to become, I believe we are missing one of the greatest lessons we can ever uncover: becoming less.
As I read John 3:30, this was the thought that challenged me:
What if I would always be compelled to do the things that made Jesus look good?
That day as I stood in line to pick up my girls from school, this thought is tested...
It's cold and raining. A hurried mother steps in front of me. I so badly want to say, "Hello, did you not see me standing here?"
But in that moment, Jesus impresses on my soul: "Do you want to be first or do you want to make me look good? Become less."
Later, the thought is tested again...
I get into an argument with my husband. I want to be right, so does he. My mind justifies the way my heart feels. Pride convinces me to ignore him until he apologizes.
I hear the nudge of Jesus again: "Do you want to be right or do you want my goodness to flow from you? Become less."
The next day, I see that someone needs help. I have a solution. My mind dwells on the fact that they never helped me when I was in need.
Instinctively, I want to discount them as they discounted me.
Again I hear the gentle whisper of Jesus: "Do you want payback or do you want to be an agent of the goodness of me? Become less."
What if we would always be compelled to do the things that made Jesus look good?
I think about my life, I honestly can't say I always do the things that make Jesus look good. I have lived out pride and selfishness. Sorrow fills me as I think about the times I've been the obstacle in God's opportunity to be goodness.
As I'm challenged to understand how to do life in a way that prepares the way to make Jesus look good, I'm finding freedom.
Reactions seem more logical.
Decisions are clearer.
Relationships are restored.
Yes, there is beauty to be found in becoming less each day so that Jesus can become more.
Today I'd like to hear from you as we continue to build community here on Crosswalk.
Are you challenged with frustrating situations where you know if you would become less Jesus could become more?
Share your story with me by leaving a comment and I will respond and pray for each of you as we journey through this truth together.