He Must Increase

Have you ever known a Christian leader who was less than perfect? Even if you don’t know one personally, you’ve surely heard of Jim Bakker or Ted Haggard. Sometimes Christians will leave the faith because they are discouraged by the fall of a charismatic leader in the church. Often non-Christians cite the downfall of such leaders as evidence that Christianity is a fraud.

In church last Sunday we had a guest speaker, Jeff Zehnder, spoke on John 3:22-36. This is the story of the transition of power from John the Baptist to Jesus. When his disciples asked him about Jesus baptizing people, John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30. Although he was a charismatic leader and had many disciples, John knew that his role was to point people to Jesus. John couldn’t save anyone or forgive their sins; only Jesus could do that.

Unfortunately, pride and power get the better of some Christian leaders. They are only human, after all. They find they like the attention and forget that their role is to point people to Jesus.

Jeff Zehnder reminded us that we need to always remember who we owe our allegiance to. We need to always look to Jesus alone and not rely on a charismatic leader, or any other Christian for that matter. If we always keep our eye on Jesus then we will not lose faith because another Christian falls. More importantly, if we keep our eye on Jesus, we can help our fellow fallen Christians to get back up again. Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life and gave up that life to pay for our sins.

Paul warned the Philippian church about this very danger, and that warning is important for us still today: 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 
 Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
 but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness. 
 And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross! 
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name, 
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11.

It is only by the name of Jesus that we are saved. Do not be led astray from the faith because of the actions of any human leader. They need a savior just the same as you and me.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


5 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed this post. It is so easy to slip into that without even realizing what we are doing.

    The other night I was with a group of ladies, and I noticed that when one lady in particular made certain remarks it made me concerned that she might not agree with me about certain things. Then it dawned on me that I was more concerned about her opinion than some of the other ladies, and I realized it was because of her title, and I was in that moment behaving like a respecter of persons, and that behavior usually comes from a selfish motive. It was convicting moment for me, because I can so easily forget that I must decrease. I am so thankful that the Lord faithfully checks us…sometimes with His still small voice and sometimes through the voices of others. 🙂

    • Theresa, I love how He faithfully checks us, too. As Johnny Cash asked the Lord in the song Cowboy’s Prayer:

      Just keep an eye on all that’s done or said
      And right me sometimes when I turn aside
      And guide me on that long, dim trail ahead
      That stretched upward toward the great divide

      As I wrote this I realized that I must be careful to always point others to Him instead of wanting the glory for myself, especially because of my writing. It is His gift to me, and I must not abuse it for my own selfish gain. It’s easy for me to become obsessed with my page stats and whether others are reading and commenting on what I write here. And so I must often remind myself that to Him belongs all the glory for anything worthwhile that might be a blessing to others who visit. Peace, Linda

  2. Thank you so much for this reminder Linda. There is much responsibility and temptation in the place where those who are more popular are. Not easy! At the church I started out at, the very much loved pastor moved on. The incoming pastor had big shoes to fill and many could not get past how he was not like the other. It helped to remember to look at Jesus. The first pastor was wonderful, but he was only there to point us to Jesus, the Most Wonderful One. ( the second pastor became well loved too! and moved on . . .) love you! deb

    • Deb, Pastors and leaders do move on, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad. But Jesus never changes and will never leave us or forsake us. Peace, Linda

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