We must never get hung up on trying to decrease self and make space in us for more Jesus. He has already done the work. Our focus should be on Him and all He has accomplished. We must desire to abide in Him. As we do, He abides in us and will establish Himself, and self with diminish accordingly.
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
The remarkable thing about the Word of God is that it’s really very simple and practical. The devil, of course, would like to convince us otherwise. The world’s protest is how difficult the ways of God are. Yet if we examine the Word, we find that the problem is not that it is complicated. Rather, it’s self that kicks against the traces and resists anything that isn’t focused on me-myself-I. Our struggle is not with the truth but with self. God’s desire for each one of us is that we stand out from the crowd, not because of ourselves but Christ in us. His purpose is that the world see His Son when they look at us. We’ll all agree when we look at ourselves that we need more Jesus. But this is where self, the world, and the enemy have us stuck in how ‘difficult’ it is.
More Jesus means less me.
This is truth, pure and simple. John defines it for us without frills or fancy explanations. While his words may have related to their different ministries, the spiritual principle remains the same. John is very much a type for every believer – a fascinating study – and much of what he communicates is relevant to our Christian walk. Today’s powerful verse entrenches the spiritual principle on which our relationship with Christ is, or should, be built. But while we can readily accept that we need more Jesus, we struggle with less me. We don’t want to accept that God doesn’t want to ‘paste’ Jesus over self like some kind of spiritual veneer. His intention is transform us into His likeness. Transform, in God’s dictionary, means to make completely new or to make completely different. The new ‘me’ in Christ is wholly removed from the old me out of Him.
We are finite beings. This means that there is only so much space in each one of us. We’re limited by our human capacity and none of us could singly manifest the full nature and character of Christ. Yet the Bible tells us that Jesus dwells in us in all His fullness. This is the more Jesus we’re all after – the power and the blessings that result from His indwelling presence. But the release of these is dependent on the measure of Christ we allow into our lives. It has nothing to do with what He is willing to give us because He has already given all. We limit more Jesus in us because we don’t want less me. Christ in us is able to release the supernatural – His full nature and character – as and when we need Him, but He won’t share the space with self-focused me.
More Jesus means a shift in focus.
Too often, we get hung up at the truth of less me. We think that we have to somehow accomplish what Jesus has already accomplished. This is deception. We allow ourselves to be deceived into believing that somehow, we have to do the work. I must crucify self. It’s my responsibility to stop this or do that. Yet this is not what the Bible teaches. Yes, we’re told to take up our cross. What this really means is that we identify with Jesus and what He has done. It’s our daily commitment to follow Him rather than a hopeless attempt to ‘nail ourselves’ to an imaginary cross that has already happened. Jesus has already taken us to the cross. He did so 2000 odd years ago. More Jesus simply means a shift in focus to Him and His perfect, completed work. We don’t complete what He started, we establish it.
There is nothing at all that can or should confuse us. Jesus’ last words on the cross were ‘it is finished’ and it means just that. Finished. We cannot add to it, nor can we ‘copy’ it in our lives. The work is done. We must simply walk in what He has already accomplished. More Jesus simply means to shift our focus from what is wrong with us to what is right with Him. This is the whole purpose of us in Christ and Christ in us. We place ourselves in Christ when we take up our cross – identify with what He did for us. In turn, He puts Himself in us – with full access to the outworking in us of all He has already accomplished. While we run around looking for ways to decrease self, we miss the critical truth all we need is to focus on Him.
More Jesus will result in less me.
The Bible teaches us to focus on the things of God, on the good spiritual things. This is because our point of focus becomes what is in our heart, which in turn becomes who and what we are. Jesus tells us to abide in Him. The way to more Jesus starts here – us in Him. This is our choice to fully identify with all He did and accomplished on the cross. Self has already been crucified. It’s a place of surrender to the truth that we cannot do it. But it’s also thanksgiving, because we take hold of the incredible blessing that He did for us what we could not do. Finally, it’s grasping the absolute truth that the work has already been done. In Christ, anything we need has already been purchased and paid in full through His body and blood. It is finished is established, historical fact.
The more we focus on Jesus – on who He is and what He has already done – the more this truth will work in us. The reciprocal relationship is Christ in me. If we are in Him, He will be in us. He promised us this. The more we focus on abiding in Him, the more Jesus is in us. We don’t have to somehow find a way to ‘make space’ for Jesus. The moment our focus is on Him, it’s not on self. The less focus we place on self, the more it diminishes. More Jesus results in less self, not the other way around. We cannot remove self to make space for Him. He alone can and has already accomplished it. Yes, we need to daily choose Jesus before self, but He works according to our focus. When it’s on Him, there will be more Jesus and less me.
The practical outworking of more Jesus.
God has two purposes in desiring more Jesus in us. Firstly, Jesus is the full revelation of the Father. He came to reveal God and manifest His nature and character to the world. This is still His primary purpose in more Jesus. He desires, when the world looks at us, that they see Jesus and therefore see Himself. The adage about us perhaps being the only ‘Bible’ some people have ever read is poignantly true. Our lives must manifest the Living Word of God who is also God. This is the principle behind the body of Christ. None of us can fully manifest the nature and character of God as Jesus did but do so collectively. Together, we’re a full reflection of Jesus and therefore the Father. It also means His work is not limited to a single human body but is everywhere at the same time.
But His primary purpose works through His second purpose – transforming us. Us in Christ places us where we need to be. Him in us releases the outworking of every single thing He accomplished for us on the cross. While these are ours, already exist, and are freely available to us at any time, they are released gradually. Jesus outworks His presence as our relationship with Him grows. The more we focus on Jesus, the more Jesus releases into us to transform us. When we look to Him as our all in all, self simply has to take a back seat. We do have to deal with us, but we come from a place of victory. Instead of wrestling with self, we remind it that it’s dead and buried with Jesus. The power of Christ in us is that if we believe in the cross, He establishes His victory.
Taking hold of more Jesus.
We all desire to see more of Him in us. It starts with ‘taking up the cross’ and identifying with Him and all He has done. This is so much more than a He did it for me approach. It’s that we were with Him when He did it. He took us to the cross and dealt with self as well as everything else. This isn’t a ‘magic formula’ but a way of life. That identification secures us completely in Him. It also puts our focus on Him. What we look at is what we become. If we desire the power and glory of God to manifest in our lives, we need more Jesus. Rather than waste our time wrestling with self, we should simply focus on the one who has already done it.
When we see Him as all in all, our Lord and our life, all that He is will be outworked in us. We do not have to fight to reproduce what Jesus has already done. We simply need to take our eyes off self and put them on Him.
Sweet Jesus, we thank You for Your great, complete, and perfect work on the cross. Forgive us for foolishly trying to redo what You have already done. Help us to fully identify with You and so abide in You so that You can abide in us. We trust You, Lord, work out Your presence in our lives according to Your purposes, so the world will see Your power and glory.