Much of Christ
I like to have conversations with people about what God is doing in their life. I really feel that once two people are able to get over the monotony of the weather, classes, and relationships, the best of conversations will take place. We spend so much time in conversation anyways, why not try and make the dialogues as worthwhile and beneficial?
It is extremely important for the Christian to be able to share praises, confess sins, and request intercession on their behalf. As members of one body, it is absolutely essential that we strive to live in relationship with those of the Kingdom of God. Above all else, this community is a blessing given by God to strengthen and encourage us.
When we begin to have conversation about what God is doing in our life, it immediately takes the focus from us and places it wholly on God. It is an act of humility because we are able to affirm in our words that our lives are not about us but about God and His will. We do not recite a list of accomplishments and achievements as though it were by our own strength and ability that we had reached such goals. Our answer reflects God's providential hand in our life. We share story after story of defeated temptation, repentant hearts, and countless blessings. The focus is no longer on what we have done but what Christ is doing through us. We are simply the instrument, the vessel of His unconditional love and undeserved grace. And through this love and grace we live knowledgeable of the truth that God is continually shaping us into a better representation of Christ.
I find it so interesting how Christianity is not ultimately about bettering yourself. There are so many religions, lifestyles, and mindsets that encourage the increasing of yourself whether it be through gaining wisdom, or becoming more peaceful, or denying all earthly pleasure. The understanding is that if you are able to make yourself happy as the end, the means by which you do it does not really matter that much so long as you are not interrupting the happiness of another. We take the role of gods and become our own idols. We set ourselves on the marble pedestal and set up a mirror directly in front of it. Our minds, our bodies, and our ultimate happiness take their undeserving place in the center of our lives.
How have we been so deceived into believing that this life is all about us? John the Baptist sums up the Christian existence in John 3:30:
"He must increase, I must decrease."
I think a lot of Christians do not understand that God is not shaping us into better people but is shaping us into better representations of Christ. When we confess Christ as Lord and repent of our sins, we do not really possess the earthly identity with which we are born. Our old identity is cursed by the stains of sin, the falling short, the betrayal, the rebellion. But when we are made new in Christ it is like we enter into spiritual witness protection. When we enter into relationship with Christ, He plucks up that old sinner from the map never to be seen again. Our old self being killed and buried with Christ is no longer on the radar. We are made clean, given a new name, given a new history. We are no longer the people we once were because of the all-consuming love and grace of Christ. While we do have to live with the consequences of our previous sins, God no longer views us as the one that has fallen short because of the sacrifice of His holy and righteous Son.
So when John the Baptist spoke of his need to decrease, he fully understood that his life was not about him in the slightest. In fact, all of the prophecies about him already indicated that he would be the one to prepare the way for another.
John the Baptist was not carving out his own path in the wilderness to gain a reputation of spiritual maturity. He was leading the people to repentance in preparation for the coming Messiah, the One he was not even worthy enough to untie the sandals of.
We must live life with the understanding that it is not about us. Only through the daily molding and shaping of our lives to the example of Christ can we truly live according to the gift we have been given. We must strive to decrease while Christ is constantly being increased. Let not your life reflect your old self as that person has died with Christ. Make much of Him.