In a painting there are primary colors and then there are secondary colors that highlight and accent the primary. As an artist and a musician, I’m used to being the primary color in a gathering. I don’t realize I’ve grown accustomed to this until I am overlooked or overshadowed, and then something rises up in me. It’s the lie that I no longer have a place of belonging.
Because I’m a Christian and I know pride is wrong, I choose not to compete. But in my heart there is a fear and an insecurity; I feel naked without the spotlight. I do my best to play second fiddle, but to be honest, it’s hard for me. Why? Because I’m focused on my place in life’s story rather than in the overall story itself.
When I read the Christmas story, I find a different mindset at work:
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, ‘Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.’ Luke 1:39-45KJV
In the kingdom of God, Jesus is the main character. He’s the work of art to be presented to the world. Our highest calling is to display and behold Him. Elisabeth understood this. As an older woman, there is no envy or competition of Mary’s role as the chosen mother of Jesus. On the contrary, Elisabeth seems more delighted in God’s will being done than in her specific role; her son John grows up to carry the same attitude:
And they came unto John, and said unto him, ‘Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.’ John 3:26-31KJV,
As we step into the rhythm of the Christmas season, are we interested in playing second fiddle if it benefits God and others? Are you more concerned with your greatness in God’s Kingdom or beholding the coming King?
What we really need is a bigger view of Jesus that captures our hearts and puts everything else in its proper place…surrendered at His feet. Following are suggested worship activities designed to increase our view of Christ so that God’s will overshadows ours.
- Sit down in a quiet place and just think about Jesus. What comes to mind? Write it down. What are the primary emotions that rise up in you? How have your beliefs about Jesus influenced your feelings about Him? Take some time to talk to God about that.
- Read John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:15-21, and Revelation 1:12-18. Ask Jesus to give you a bigger picture of Himself. Pay attention to the verses that grab your attention. Write them down and talk to God about them. What is He revealing to you about Himself?
- While going about your normal day, actively pay attention to the rhythm of your thoughts and the plans of your heart. How many center around you and your significance? How many center around the glory of God and loving others?
Check back tomorrow for my creative response to this passage.
Written by Ben Sadler, © 2015 Benjamin Sadler, All Rights Reserved.