a new year and with the change of the calendar comes both resolution and
hope that I too will change. I will do better, I will accomplish more,
I will rid myself of irritating and self-defeating habits. I will transform
myself in this new year.
Change is difficult. There is a saying that the only person that likes
change is a baby with a wet diaper. Even if it’s change that we want
and will make our lives better, it still is hard. You are letting go
of the familiar and comfortable (even if it’s negative) in order to grab
onto something that may be better, but is still unknown and in uncharted
territory. Picture a trapeze artist swinging back and forth, hanging
onto their trapeze bar. Their goal is to move from one bar to another,
but in order to do that, they have to let go of the bar, fly through the
air with nothing to hold onto with the hope that the new bar will soon be
within their grasp. When we are going through change, it feels like
we are flying through the air with nothing to hold onto, hoping that the
new is within our grasp.
Now picture John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, traveling around the countryside
with the news of the coming Messiah. He seems like quite a character---dressing
and acting rather strangely, but gathering crowds with his message of hope.
As they responded to John’s message, he baptized them in preparation to meet
the new Messiah. However, some of his disciples became concerned because
they sensed a change coming---where the focus would be placed on Jesus instead
of John. This however, was the change that John desired and was working
toward. His answer was simple. . . . He must increase, I must decrease.
This statement reflects the only change needed. . . . the transformation
of our lives where Jesus is growing and we are becoming less and less.
The goal of every Christ-follower is to become more Christ-like, from the
inside out. The secret of this change is to understand that as
Jesus increases and we decrease on the inside, the outside will follow.
As he increases in importance and influence in our lives, everything that
is self-defeating, narcissistic and self-aggrandizing will decrease. As Christ
moves more and more into the center of our heart, will and spirit, we slip
off to the sidelines. It’s kind of the ultimate paradox---as
we decrease, we win! That is, we gain what we desire—a transformed
life. The beauty of it is that this all happens through God’s work---all
we have to do is to let go of ourselves---and then we find ourselves.
As we become less, we become more of who God is calling us to be!