«He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less» (John 3:30).
I don’t know if you’ve ever felt jealous. You probably have. It’s one of the most frequent and difficult things we have to face as human beings. A color has even been associated with that sensation which is so destructive to many people and relationships.
John wasn’t spared from that temptation. He had devoted his whole life to a goal that seemed to have been met. The problem wasn’t that he had been displaced. Or, at least, his followers thought that was the problem. Feeling worried, they went to tell him that now everyone was following the new Master who was also baptizing.
«Through these words, Satan brought temptation upon John. Though John’s mission seemed about to close, it was still possible for him to hinder the work of Christ. If he had sympathized with himself, and expressed grief or disappointment at being superseded, he would have sown the seeds of dissension, would have encouraged envy and jealousy, and would seriously have impeded the progress of the gospel» (The Desire of Ages, ch. 18, p. 179).
We seldom stop to think what would have actually happened if John had fallen into that trap. We view it almost as an “expectation” that he didn’t fall into that temptation and acted as an unconditional accomplice toward his cousin and Savior.
But truth be told, it’s not always easy for us to overcome much smaller temptations in regard to that matter.
When faced with more promising projects or better prepared leaders, we often behave the opposite way John did.
«He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.» How many things would change if we behaved that way!
John was sure every good thing came from God and that only if Jesus played the main role, the plan of salvation he had preached of so much could be accomplished.
«Those who are true to their calling as messengers for God will not seek honor for themselves. Love for self will be swallowed up in love for Christ. No rivalry will mar the precious cause of the gospel…. They will lift up Jesus, and with Him humanity will be lifted up» (ibid).
What a challenge and what a promise!
I urge you to adopt that phrase as one of your themes in life, to accept that inversely proportional growth and take part in the plan to transform the world.