‘'I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.'
I love this section of scripture. It shows obedience to God, recognition of self-worth, purpose and humility all rolled into one!
John has joy, not in his own achievements or popularity, but in the fact that God's predetermined purpose is being fulfilled.
He realises his place in proceedings and likens himself to the best man at a wedding. He has an important task to do, he helps prepare and ensures the wedding goes well. He is there to support the groom and ensure he has a good day that goes smoothly. If the event goes well, then his job is complete and he gets satisfaction in it.
This is the same for John.
John has, 'prepared the way of the Lord' (Isaiah 40:3 and Mark 1:3). He has preached that the messiah is coming, and is close at hand. He has called God's people to be washed clean of their wrongs through baptism. He has declared that Jesus is the one. He has been busy preparing for the arrival of the groom. Making sure things are in place and people are ready.
Now, John says, 'this joy of mine is now complete'.
I think this is AMAZING! He doesn't get bitter or resentful that someone has surpassed him, in fact, he's happy about it!
Is that how we respond in the world when someone else gets promoted, or has a better house, better kids, is more clever, being successful, generally better than us?
John was secure in what his purpose was. He knew the job he had to do, and he did it well. He knew who he as, and who he wasn't ('I am not the Christ'). Sometimes when we are jealous of others, or resentful of what they have or have achieved it is because we are not secure in who we are.
You do not need to measure yourself up against anyone else.
You are not them, you can never be the same as anyone else because you are your own unique being and you are not created to be like any other person on this Earth.
You have a purpose, it might not to be the top of your game, it could be to be; a great Dad, to show kindness to others, to help other people achieve, to pray, to prepare the way for someone else or a whole host of other things.
Consider John, consider his words, his heart to carry on even though he's being overtaken, even though some of his followers are leaving to follow Jesus (- that was John's purpose anyway to promote not himself but Jesus!). He recognises that his ministry must lessen whilst Jesus ministry grows.
When you have these times in your life, when you are being surpassed, how do you handle it? With cries of 'it's not fair' 'they've only been around 5minutes'? Or do you have a different response?
John did. He was happy. In fact, he said, 'this joy of mine is now complete'.
He wasn't just happy or content, he felt complete, he knew his purpose, he knew his capabilities and he was secure in it. He had self-worth.
When you have that, it doesn't matter if people surpass you, have better things or greater achievements, you might not need those things. You are you, you have been created as you are to fulfil a job on this Earth only you can do. So, stop measuring yourself up to others, you'll never be the same.
Enjoy the journey you are on.