Becoming Greater

becoming-greater

John 3:30 (NLT) He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

Turning the pages of my journal – it is quite clear that I have made a mess of things. Whether the pages just stuck together or in my haste I skipped a few, the dates are all out of whack and segments left blank. Not to waste the precious pages, I have begun to fill in the holes each day. It’s really only for my benefit so it really doesn’t matter if it chronologically doesn’t make sense. Maybe the Lord has a reason for ordering it as such, who knows? All I know is that once again I have managed to mess things up.

This is not a browbeating – just a simple reminder from my God, Father and Creator that I am imperfect and He is perfect. A call back to the reality that He orders my steps and has a plan for my life that is much greater than anything I could construct or even imagine for that matter. I forget sometimes allowing distractions to make way for discouragement in certain areas of my life. It can happen to the best of us just about any day. We get up with a heart full of good intentions, our mind made up to follow the Lord and then it happens – this little thing called life. We are called away to fight giants that have already been defeated. To overcome walls that have already been knocked down. Engage in battles already won. How do I keep from falling for such things day after day? I need to conquer the “busy” beast. Tear up the foreboding list of to-do’s so I can shout ta-da. Somehow managing to exchange my “Martha” mentality and adopt “Mary’s” precious spirit. There are greater things hidden in my life. They reside in me. These promises are only possible when I become less and less making way for greater things.

I John 3:19-21 (NLT) Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

To be honest, the whole journal thing did not lead me to John 3:30 this morning. It has been building for about a week. Distractions – lots of them. Once my attention was turned to the lesser things in life including all those little details carefully orchestrated by the Lord yet hugely taken for granted by me – the people around me started in. You know – you get a little tired and overwhelmed and then it seems like that’s just about the time all the “people” around you start acting up. Like salt in an open wound, it gets you all worked up. Your mind begins to contemplate just what you are gonna do or telling the Lord what He needs to do to fix their little red wagons. Suddenly, I have become totally engrossed up to my eyeballs in the lesser things of life and I cannot see the greater that God has for me. Well, I am here to admit that other people are not my problem. I am my own worst enemy sometimes. The Lord has called me and equipped me for greater things but sometimes I decide to be the greater in my life or allow others to take His Place.

My feelings are not as important as my submission to God. What does that mean? It means that on those days that I do not understand the Hand of God or His Thoughts I can know His Heart and that it is set on me. My condition and circumstances do not dictate my outcomes so I should not allow my emotions to either. When I decide that the One who lives in me is truly greater. I can leave all this foolishness behind…what foolishness? Glad you asked.

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NLT)  For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”? (Isaiah 29:16)God made us with purpose. He designed us with a plan including a future and hope. His Greatness was given to us when Jesus Christ released His Spirit and breathed Himself into us. We are now filled with His Greatness and the potential to do greater things. Faith is the seed that allows the greatness of God to be exposed in our life. As we love and trust Him more, this greatness gives way to His Glory which fills our life with His Goodness. The enemy of faith is pride that works its way into the good things God is doing and somehow takes credit for it. We can do nothing to bear fruit apart from Jesus Christ (John 15) and every good and perfect gift in our life is from the Father (James 1). Jesus is the Goodness and Greatness in our life.

“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.” (Matthew 24:10) I am not sure how it happens other than maybe a religious spirit or prideful indignation but sometimes we forget. We forget that it is all about Jesus and not about me. How I feel? What I want? “I” get in the way of Him. These are the times when His Grace is not enough for me or anyone else. It is the moments when I think that the way people treat me is an excuse to react rather than respond with love just the same. I will be honest. Church aggravates me more than anything else. Why? We should know better. Services are offered at least two times a week. God’s Word is taught. The Holy Spirit moves yet there is no brokenness. Our hard hearts are supported by pride that keeps us from releasing the Greatness of God hidden within us. To do so is to suppose that I am more than a vessel of God in this world, which is just not true.

The beauty in this life is brokenness. When our heart and mind is open to all that the Lord is doing and all that God has promised us. It is with such purpose – pride is laid aside and our lives placed on the altar. A commitment to Christ comes with the promise of pressure and pain as the Greatness in us surpasses all the lesser things once held on to.

Psalm 71:19-21 (NLT) Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.

The discomfort, distractions and disturbed state of my life is not anyone’s fault but my own. The enemy will offer such things in exchange for God’s Greatness and Glory each day. It is up to me if I choose to take the bait and chase another little fox along the way. People are not and will not ever be the problem. In fact, laying my life down for others is my purpose. This means sacrificing my life for others – all others. Jesus said, that there was no one greater on the earth than John the Baptist yet in prison it was John who asked his followers to go ask the Lord one more time if He really was the Messiah. Our life is full of testing to insure that our faith is genuine. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is through hardship that the rough edges and sharp corners are broken from our life so that the Greatness of God hidden in us will be exposed for His Glory and our Goodness. We must believe that there is such greatness in order to experience it.

John 14:11-13 (NLT) Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

There are greater works in store for us. The Holy Spirit is insurance that God has greater things in store for us than that which could be accomplished outside of His Presence. God will never give us less than His Very Best no matter how many times we try to compromise. The Lord is intent on giving His Children the best of everything. God promised Abraham greater things. Abraham grew tired of waiting and tried to replicate God’s Promise in a child who he called Ishmael. But God had a greater work being prepared who would be named Isaac. Abraham waiting patiently and His Promise arrived. People make promises every day. How can we expect imperfect people to keep their word? But there is a perfect God who loves us with perfect love who has promised that we will do greater things. We can take Him at His Word because He does not lie or change His Mind. (Hebrews 6) His Spirit living in us is evidence of these greater things. We must learn to have great confidence in order to see greater things.

2 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NLT) Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!

We should expect far greater glory under God’s Grace. We must believe that He who lives in us is greater than the one who lives in this world. Our commitment to Christ will produce His Glory and Greatness in our life if we remain connected to Him. The Greatness of God in us gives us victory every day enlarging our territory and creating influence among others. (Deuteronomy 11:22-24) This is the Promise given to those who devote their life to following Jesus Christ. His Greatness allows us to live in a state of joy, peace and rest no matter what life throws our way. (Psalm 4:6-8) If I am not experiencing or expecting this kind of life and waiting on the Lord to do it, then I am not striving to become less so Christ can be more. I must become less and less. He must become less and less. Things are out of order but thanks to grace can quickly be right back in place. Lord, you must increase and I must decrease today.

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Thank you Lord for the gentle and loving reminder that it is not all about me today. It is all about you. My heart and mind must be set on the greater that lives in me than all the distractions around me. Even if my faith is small, it is enough to release your Goodness and Glory in my life today. Thank you for the grace that is always enough to get me back on track. I want more of you today Lord. In fact, I want all of You! Move me out of the way as you become my greater again! I ask you Lord to remove the lesser things that I have settled for to make room for Your Goodness and Glory to fill my life.

I John 4:4 (NLT) But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

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