It’s Not About Me

Slowly but surely it’s become easier to get sucked into the “It’s all about me” culture. Products are targeted specifically at our most basic urges with slogans like “Get what you deserve,” “Because you’re worth it,” “Obey your thirst,” “No boundaries,” “Got the urge?” “Why wait?” and on and on. The intent of the messages is clear: Be selfish and gratify yourself now. After all, life is all about you. Except for the fact that it isn’t.

Social media, more than any other recent innovation, has intensified the “It’s all about me” atmosphere of our world. From the obsession with selfies to the number of followers I have, likes I’ve received, and retweets that have occurred, it’s obvious that for many people, even Christian people, life can quickly turn into being “all about me.” Except for the fact that it isn’t.

As the Lord’s people, saved by grace, we rejoice in the truth of John 3:16. But it may be time to scroll down the chapter and allow verse 30 to sink its way deeply into our hearts. John the Baptizer, the man who Jesus said was the greatest person ever born,[1] said, “I must decrease.” And John practiced what he preached. He actually instructed two of his followers (Andrew and John the apostle) to leave him to follow Christ (1:35-37). When Jewish leaders from Jerusalem came to John, they asked him if he was the Christ. He said no. They inquired if he was Elijah. He said no. They wondered if he would claim to be the Prophet Moses spoke about.[2] John said no. Perhaps he could have increased his number of followers for a while if he had said yes to any of those questions. But John knew that “It’s not about me.”

A short while later, John was baptizing and so were Jesus’ disciples. John’s disciples treated it as a competition and asked John, “Rabbi, the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan River, about whom you testified – see, he is baptizing, and everyone is flocking to him!” (3:26 NET). John was glad and ultimately answered, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (v30 KJV). When was the last time you rejoiced upon realizing your number of online followers decreased? Probably never. But John did because he knew that “It’s not about me.”

To his dwindling band of disciples, John explained exactly why Christ must increase and why he must decrease.[3] He said that Jesus came from heaven (John was from the earth) and that He is the bridegroom of God’s people (John was merely the friend of the bridegroom). Jesus was given the Spirit without measure, was loved by His Father, and the Father placed all things under His authority. He told them that Jesus is the difference between having everlasting life and experiencing God’s wrath forever. Quite obviously, then, their view of Jesus needed to be changed. And when it did, so would their view of John, and of themselves.

Perhaps we need a fresh view of Christ as well, one that will cause us to live this out: “It’s not about me. It’s about Him.” Or in Bible language, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” So long as His number of followers is on the rise, that’s what matters most.

[1] Matthew 11:11

[2] Deuteronomy 18:15

[3] John 3:27-36