“John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ”” (John 1:15, NASB95)
He … has a higher rank than I. Self-importance. It is such a malevolent character trait, don’t you think? Well, many can think about it this way, because they are so self-important the very idea of not thinking of themselves is foreign to their minds.
How and what we think about ourselves says a lot about our view of God and our effectiveness in working for Him. Choosing which “Son” our lives revolve around makes all the difference in our world. If we choose to orbit ourselves, we choose the child of our parents as the Center of Our Universe. That means that we find ourselves more important than everyone and everything around us.
However, for the true disciple of Jesus, as John the Baptizer shows us here, rank is of little importance. We follow Jesus. He is more important than anything or anyone, especially and including ourselves. Putting His will and whim ahead of ours is what makes us effective because we are never in our own way, never seeking our way when someone for whom He died is in need.
Since we know that Jesus is God, we know that we are not. Having a proper perspective of ourselves makes discipling others so much less complicated. We understand our mission is to pour our lives into them. We choose daily – sometimes hourly – to do what is best for the other person and not for us.
This is the testimony of those who truly live for Jesus. They choose to set themselves down and raise others up. They follow Jesus’ example (Philippians 2:5-8) and make themselves of no reputation, taking on the form of a slave. This is Biblical humility. This is discipleship. This is the pathway to effectiveness. This is Jesus.
As you evaluate your current situation, ask these questions: What or who holds the center of my life? What does my life truly orbit? How do I know that answer is true? For whom am I living? How do I demonstrate that? What am I doing that reveals I follow Jesus? What should I consider that would more reflect my discipleship to Jesus?
Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.