If you want more of Jesus, the solution is NOT less of you! It is something far better! In this article, I’m going to show you how to actually have more of Jesus in your life without losing your unique purpose and role in this world.
The ultimate end of “more of Jesus; less of me” is “ALL of Jesus; NONE of me.” But God already had that, and He wasn’t satisfied! That’s why He created you! If God wanted all of Him and none of you, then you wouldn’t exist!
More of Jesus; Less of Me?
So where did this crazy idea come from? Why do we slip these words into worship songs, sermons, and prayers?
The scripture that started it all is John 3:30, in which John the Baptist says this regarding Jesus:
John 3:30 — He must become greater; I must become less. (NIV)
In this verse, John was tapering off his own ministry (of pointing to the Messiah) in favor of Jesus (the actual Messiah). In other words, “Now that the Messiah has come, the number of my disciples must diminish while the number of His disciples must increase.” There’s no point in a salesman trying to sell you a car after you bought it, and there’s no point in a forerunner proclaiming a soon-coming Messiah who has already come!
John was not talking about some sort of internal, spiritual transition that we all must go through. He was speaking in very earthly terms about the purpose of his own ministry coming to an end as Jesus became more known without his help.
But what about going to the cross, being “dead with Christ,” and offering our bodies as living sacrifices?
Absolutely! These things, though, are about death to sin and total surrender of our lives — not a gradual diminishing of who you are.
Surrender to Win
We often think of “surrender” as a dirty word. We think that to surrender is to “give up” or realize our own weakness. We think that to surrender is to let the enemy win.
But what if the incoming army isn’t an enemy?
What if the incoming kingdom offers a superior way of living?
What if surrendering to the incoming king means a better quality of life for us?
In these ways, “surrender” is actually a good thing! I suppose you could still say that it’s a confession of weakness; but more than that, it is a receiving of strength!
When we surrender to God, we do not become slaves; we become sons. A peasant in an inferior kingdom becomes a king in a superior kingdom.
The people we consider “poor” in America typically live better than most of the world’s population. In the same way, the lowliest person in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than the most powerful person outside the Kingdom. Remember John the Baptist? Jesus said, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Those in the Kingdom are no longer identified as being “born of women.” Rather, we are identified as being “born of God.”
John 1:12–13 — Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
To “die with Christ” is only the first step. After that, we raise with Him. And when we raise, we are new creations. We have new identities.
No longer are we lost; we’re found.
No longer are we cursed; we’re blessed.
No longer are we hopeless; we’re confident.
No longer are we fearful; we’re powerful.
No longer are we defeated; we’re victorious!
There’s something beautiful about these new traits: Each one is only true of you because it is true of Jesus. Identify the identity of Jesus, and you have identified the identity of YOU! And once you know who you truly are, it’s time to start increasing!
More of You Means More of Jesus
The fact is, more of you IS more of Jesus. I don't mean that you are literally Jesus (as though He's some sort of mystical concept rather than a physical Person). However, through His death and resurrection, Jesus has given you His identity. Therefore, as the new you "increases," Jesus also increases. You are part of His body.
Many of us sing songs that beg Jesus for more of Himself. We often pray the same way. What we don’t realize is that Jesus has already given Himself freely to us. We have His Holy Spirit “without limit.” (See John 3:34.) If there seems to be a lack of Jesus in your life, the solution is not technically more of Jesus (you already have all of Him). The solution is obedience to His design. When you live the life He created you for, Jesus works with you. (See Mark 16:20.) Jesus was there all along (because in Matthew 28:20 He promised to be with us always), but your obedience is what makes Him known. More obedience reveals more of Jesus!
In Galatians 2:20, Paul said that he had been crucified with Christ and therefore no longer lived. Rather, he said, Christ lives in him. So for Paul to increase would mean an increase of Jesus. More of Paul means more of Jesus.
If you too have surrendered yourself completely to this superior King and His Kingdom, then Christ lives in you as well. You’re a new creation who bears the identity of Jesus. So when you increase, Jesus increases.
What are some ways that we increase?
Increase in godly wisdom — As normal people go through life, they develop earthly wisdom by making mistakes and observing the failures and successes of others. But godly wisdom sometimes defies earthly wisdom. Godly wisdom comes from time spent in relationship with God and observing His ways. And as we develop this relationship, observing His ways and learning His heart, we develop a form of wisdom that reveals Jesus in the world. We begin to do impossible things and reveal the power of our God in situations that the world would consider hopeless. When we increase in godly wisdom, Jesus is revealed in greater measure. More wisdom in you means more Jesus being revealed. More of you means more of Jesus.
Increase in favor — Scripture tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. (See Luke 2:52.) Even Jesus developed favor. God’s favor is different from His pleasure. God delights in all His children, but some have attracted His favor through childlike faith and innocence. God doesn’t have favorites or show favoritism, but He does release favor to the humble. And when God’s favor is on us, the world sees a measure of Jesus that could not be seen any other way. More of you means more of Jesus.
Increase in ministry — Simply doing more in ministry reveals more of Jesus. I’m not talking about striving with your own effort. Paul said of Gospel ministry, “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (See Colossians 1:29.) Paul still strived, but it was with Christ’s energy and effort. Gospel work is a sacrifice, but the Holy Spirit will empower us for the task. And whenever we engage in Spirit-empowered ministry, Jesus is multiplied in the earth. I know what you’re thinking: “If it’s the Holy Spirit doing the work, then we’re not really talking about an increase of me.” Actually, we are. “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” (See 1 Corinthians 6:17.) When you surrendered to Jesus, His Spirit — the Holy Spirit — mingled with your own human spirit to make you into a new creation — someone who has never existed before. So when you co-labor with the Holy Spirit in ministry, you are revealing a measure of Jesus that no one else is designed to reveal. Therefore, when you do more of your own ministry, you reveal more of Jesus. More of you means more of Jesus.
Increase in passion — The word “passion” literally means “suffering,” but it’s use in modern culture has made it more than that. We use the word to describe intense emotion and determination that expresses itself through action despite the possibility of suffering. A better biblical word might be “zeal.” Jesus demonstrated the most intense passion that the world has ever seen. We often look at the sacrifice He made at the cross, but we overlook the great sacrifice He made by simply coming to earth and taking on human limitations. (See Philippians 2:5-8.) As new creations who represent Jesus, passion is part of our design. There are two “12:11” passages that are important to this point. Revelation 12:11 tells us that Satan will be overcome by people who do not “love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” And Romans 12:11 tells us, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Jesus is the most zealous Person in existence, so the more zealous we are, the more clearly the world can see Him through us. More of you means more of Jesus.
Increase in love — First John 4:8 tells us, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” And Scripture tells us how God — who is love personified — revealed His love: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (See Romans 5:8.) Real love is a decisive self-sacrifice. As new creations with new identities, we have God’s love within us. A few verses before that scripture about how God demonstrates His love, we learn this: “…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Whenever you love, it is actually an expression of God’s love, which is a revelation of Jesus. More of you means more of Jesus.
Increase in faith — Faith is the relational connection we have with God. Jesus said that for those who have faith, NOTHING will be impossible for them. (See Matthew 17:20.) When we look at the life of Jesus, we see perfect faith. Jesus healed everyone who came to Him, multiplied food, prophesied, taught with authority, cast out demons, and worked mighty miracles. It was a lack of faith that kept the disciples from casting out a demon that Jesus was able to cast out. (See Matthew 17:14-20.) Without faith, it is impossible to represent Jesus. Faith reveals Him to the world. When you have faith and act on it, Jesus is shown for who He is. Again: more of you means more of Jesus!
It’s Time to Increase!
Just as you want all of Jesus, Jesus wants all of you! You don’t gain more of Jesus by Him diminishing, and Jesus doesn’t gain more of you by you diminishing. It’s time to stop thinking about how to decrease yourself and start thinking about embracing the identity God has given you! The more you become like the new you, the more you are actually becoming like Jesus, who is in you. He is your life. His identity is your identity.
1 John 4:17b — …as He is, so are we in this world. (NKJV)
It’s time to allow yourself to increase in godly wisdom, favor, ministry, passion, love, faith, and more. The more you increase in your new identity, the more of Jesus you will have in your life.