“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
When I was a child, I remember wanting to get a soda from a soda machine. When I put my change in the machine and pushed the selection button, no drink came out and I had lost my money. When I looked up I noticed what I had not noticed before a sign that read clearly, “Out of Order.” As a child I did not know whether the people had put the machine together wrong or whether something inside the machine had gone bad? If it looked okay from the outside, what was the big deal if one of the parts had quit working? Why couldn’t I get my drink?
The start of a new year for many is a time to take inventory of their lives. When looking at where they are, some are unhappy with their lives and make plans and resolutions to change. Many resolutions do not get accomplished. The ones that do work out to change lives only happen when they identify what is the priority and then order the rest of life to make that a priority. For example, a popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Recognizing that as a priority is not a problem for most people, the hard and life changing part is ordering or re-ordering each part of one’s life to make that priority life changing.
Taking a look at our spiritual lives and the faith community in which we live, is everything working well? Is it in good working order? The drink machine looked fine from the outside and even parts worked well. However, it was not in working order because not all parts were working together. When we consider the personal side of our spiritual walk, most of us know what our priority should be, Jesus! Identifying the priority is only part of the process, with the remaining part being altering, ordering, or re-ordering our lives to make Jesus our priority. It is not easy. Most of us are creatures of habit; and when times get tough, we want to go back to what we know.
What are we to do? Don’t look at one day’s success or failure as the priority but that each day we are becoming the people and faith community that represents Jesus. John the Baptist rightly identified Jesus as Priority. He is the Son of God; it is all about him; and I am here to just point the way. After Jesus began his ministry, some of John’s disciples questioned why some of John’s disciples were following Jesus. They wanted John to feel jealous. John again explains that Jesus is the Priority, tells them how to order their lives, and then demonstrates his commitment to order his life that way. John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
For most of us we know Jesus is supposed to be the priority, but will we order our lives in such a way as to make Jesus the Priority, and change our lives and faith communities in 2016? Don’t give up at the first sign of struggle. Trust that each day we can move a little more toward his likeness if we echo the words of John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” A new life is not just about identifying what our priorities should be but ordering our lives to make it so.