Sometimes in my own life I need to step back and remember some basic principle of my relationship with God rather than explore some deep, mysterious theological truth. In my simplistic mind I need to get back to a core foundation. It reminds me of something I heard once about the need of the average Christian: “Most people need to be reminded more than they need to be taught.” That may or may not be true, but I know that has been the case for my life.
This morning I simply needed to hear some simple truths about God, Christ, my life and my role as a pastor. I just felt the urge to read familiar scripture, to hear instruction from Jesus and to put some perspective in my brain. So with coffee in hand I grabbed my bible and sat down for a few minutes in the book of John.
I have read the entire book of John countless times. It is a great book. I tell people to read it when they are first beginning their spiritual walk because it allows us to get a glimpse of the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact, I won’t be offended at all if you stop reading this and go read John 1-3. This morning, some of the most familiar passages jumped off the pages and into my soul.
There were three key truths that I have known forever in my brain that I needed to be reminded of in my heart. These truths apply to everyone, but they especially hit me as a pastor. Here they are:
1) “The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:5
This is the exact position our culture finds itself in view of Christ. We live in darkness and like it that way. We are afraid of being exposed, convicted and forced to change. In my life I find that darkness creeps around my head and heart every day. Darkness is the absence of light. When we live in darkness, we are living in the absence of Christ.
2) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” John 2:14
While the nation of Israel wandered in the desert because of their sin, God allowed a plague of poisonous snakes to infiltrate the community (Numbers 21:4-9). When someone was bitten they could look to a bronze snake that had been erected on a pole and they would be healed. In the same way, when we look to Jesus, who was lifted on the cross we can be healed of the sin in our life.
3) “He must become greater and I must become less.” John 3:30
John had it all. He was popular, held the political forces at bay, and could flat out preach. He had an entire group of disciples that followed him everywhere. When Jesus came on the scene, John pointed his disciples to Jesus and gave up his popularity so that Jesus may become famous.
It is very easy for us to build followers for ourselves and not followers of Christ. Satan uses our ego and pride to cause us to look to our programs, our ideas, and our ministry instead of Christ’s power. If God is ever going to do anything in our lives, he has to become more and we have to become less.
What basic lessons do you need to learn today? How can God use you to point others to Jesus? What do you need to do to become less so that Jesus can become more?