Get out of the way!

Twelve years ago I was privileged to be a preschool teacher in Poulsbo, Washington.  I loved my students!  I remember one day when a new fellow joined our class.  The poor little man had major first day jitters and insecurities.  Not even music and story time could cheer him up.  He continued in distress until . . . I got up and moved.  Behind me on the wall was a picture of Jesus (similar to the image above).   After Kevin saw the picture of Jesus, his entire demeanor changed!  As I watched him smile, I could picture a party going on inside his brain – “This is a Jesus place!  I’m going to be okay!”  From then on, he seemed to feel at home.

While studying John 3:27-33 (*context below) today, I was challenged to remember that I am privileged to point people to Jesus.  Like John the Baptist, I have the opportunity to tell others, “It’s all about Him!”

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30  

This passage of Scripture reminds me:

I must diminish!
The good things you see in my life are only because of Jesus.  I am only special because God made me in His image, God in the flesh died to pay my sin debt, and I am chosen by Him to know and serve Him.  Why should my screen time only point people to Him?  Because . . .

1.  I have nothing except for what has been given to me by God (27). No room to brag!
2.  I am not God (28).  It seems obvious, but I find myself idiotically trying to play God in my life.
3.  I have been sent by God (28).  On His mission, not mine.  He uses the weak things of this world! (I Corinthians 1:27)
4.  I am His bride (29).  Do I act like a bride in love, preparing for our day?  Do I glow and tell everyone about the One I love (Who first loved me – I John 4:19)?
5.  The sound of his voice gives great joy – in Him my joy is fulfilled (29).  So, why do I go elsewhere for my joy?  Rejoice in the joy Giver!  And find my fulfillment in Him alone.  Not in my accomplishments!  Not in my list of souls won!  Not in my one-upping a sister with whom I feel a pull of competition in church leadership.  No!!!

He must become greater!

Jesus IS the greatest – this verse is saying that He must take center stage and be given complete dominion in our lives.  Why?  Because (again, taken from John 3) . . .

1.  He is the Giver (27).  All gifts are from God!  Isn’t His signature verse John 3:16?  And, don’t forget Romans 8:32!  With His strength, I can appreciate His gifts and become a selfless giver.
2.  He is the Sender (28).  Matthew 28:18-20.  I am on a mission!  I should be grateful – I get to serve the King of Kings!
3.  He is the Christ (28).  Anointed One, appointed by God.  Jesus is God in the flesh, no matter what other people say.
4.  Jesus and I have extremely different roles.  He is transforming me into His image while I am but a speck in the shadow of the Almighty.  That means I must continue to reverence and obey Him.  Humble myself.
5.  He is the bridegroom (29).  He loves me.  He chose me.  I am His precious bride.  He is worthy of my adoration!
6.  He is above all (27-28, 29-31). So, doesn’t He deserve my complete allegiance?!  I cannot even imagine the ridiculous spectacle of a termite bragging about his strength next to a tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur.  God and me?  The difference is even greater!

HE is above all!
He IS above all!
He is ABOVE all!
He is above ALL!

7.  Jesus is evidence that God, and what He says in the Bible, is true (33).  Divine and sent by God, Jesus gives a living, breathing view of God.
8.  He has something to say that is worth hearing (32).  Am I listening?

We have the privilege of pointing people to Jesus.  Let’s get out of the way so people can see the source of hope and true joy!

Practically Speaking: How To Point Others to Jesus

Family:

  • Above all, your family needs for you to be godly.  When you are right with God, God is able to shine through you!
  • Talk about God to your children, every day of the week. 
  • Begin the day with a verse and prayer. 
  • In a moment of frustration, let them hear you pray to God for help and strength. 
  • Put a little love note on their pillow that includes a Bible verse telling about Jesus’ love for them. 
  • If unsaved family mock or accuse you, be like Jesus to them, keeping silent and taking it graciously. 
  • Let them hear you pray for them out loud.
  • Be excited about God!
  • Teach them about good manners – the purpose of which is not to make people think they great, but it is an opportunity to show people the love of Jesus.
  • Talk about how great God is and show your children how you can together enjoy praising God in song and service. 
  • Praise them for their accomplishments, then add, “God is so good to have given you such a special talent to use for His glory!”

Neighbors:

  • Take baked goodies to them, just because.  Put a little note on the treat, including a simple Bible verse, that says you are thankful God allowed you to be neighbors. 
  • Be the first one to take a meal to a new mom, a newcomer to the neighborhood, or a grieving family.  Include a winsome tract telling about God’s love and hope. 
  • Don’t flaunt your beliefs – have an attitude of kindness and humility. 
  • Don’t be afraid to show them you can have fun. 
  • Take care of your yard.  This one is hard to keep up with (we know)!  But it is important to respect our neighborhood by taking responsibility – this will help people to view Christ in a positive light. Think of your house as God’s embassy in your neighborhood!
  • If you borrow something, return it as soon as possible. 
  • Don’t keep a perfect home – let people see that you are real – someone they can relate to.  People feel more comfortable in a home that isn’t spotless.
  • How you dress matters.  Incorporating Biblical principles of modesty, be approachable in the way you dress – neither slovenly, goody-two-shoes, nor Hollywoodish.  They are more apt to listen if your appearance doesn’t distract from your message.

Friends:

  • Don’t gossip. 
  • Don’t control the conversation, but try to guide it toward godly ideas.
  • Offer to pray for and with your friend.
  • Share what God is teaching you and ask her what God is teaching her.
  • Ask how you can help her in her Christian walk.
  • Ask for accountability – when she is holding you accountable, she will more likely seek to be right with God herself.
  • Give gifts that will remind her of God: perpetual calendar with verses in it, a Bible verse magnet or picture, a favorite music or speaker on CD.
  • After she sings or plays the piano, don’t say, “You’re awesome!”  Instead say something like, “Your song blessed my heart today.  I am so thankful you are using your talents for God’s glory!”
  • Send an e-mail saying you are praying for her today.
  • Share what God is doing in your life on Facebook.  Don’t be afraid to admit your struggles, but try not to complain.  Verbalizing what is true, even online, can help you and your friends focus on the One Who holds all the answers.

Strangers:

  • Smile and say hello. 
  • When waiting in line or while your kids are playing together at the park, try to find common ground by asking about their interests. 
  • Pray for an opportunity to share Christ, but be sensitive to His leading.  Being too bold can give people a negative stereotypical view of your Christianity. 
  • Invite them over for a play date or for supper. 
  • Always carry a quality tract with you to give them some reading material later on. Have your e-mail address or phone number on the back in case they have questions.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

*27 -John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven.   
28 – You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’  
29 – He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.  
30 – He must increase, but I must decrease.  
31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.  
32 – And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony.  
33 – He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.” 
– John 3:27-33
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