These words are the response given by John the Baptist when questioned by his disciples why everybody was following Jesus instead of him.
John had a clear understanding of his mission: “I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him…Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success” (vs. 29-30).
John the Baptist also provided an explanation of the primary difference between himself and his ministry and Jesus and His ministry–John was merely human, Jesus was divine: “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else” (vs. 31).
The life of a Christian should be exemplified in these words of John the Baptist. The Christian life is a process of denying oneself so that the life of God can take over–liquidating one’s life of self so God fills it with Himself.
Now denying oneself is not the same as self-denial. Although acts of self-denial may have positive or useful purposes, God’s plan is for total transformation!
Denying oneself means you cease to make your own will the object of your life and make God’s will the focus of your life. Oswald Chambers describes it as giving up your right to yourself to Jesus.
The moral ground on which we form a relationship with God is through Jesus, His Son, and not our own will.
So choose Jesus or choose self!
When we choose Jesus, then we relinquish our right to ourselves to Him. God invests His life in people who abdicate the kingdom of their own self-will and self-interests and set their priorities on building God’s Kingdom and doing His will.
In God’s Kingdom, giving up is getting, whether it be wealth and material possessions, your own will, or even your own life. Your emptiness provides capacity for God’s abundance.
God’s intent is not just to rid your life of sin and self-will. He has much more in store for you. God wants to transform you into a new person in whom He can impute His eternal life and all its abundance.
God won’t hold back anything and He gives you everything.
So following Jesus costs you all of the only thing you really have—your right to your own self. But when you allow Him to become greater than your own self, He replaces your natural life with His supernatural life.
And your destiny is fulfilled and your life is given immeasurable value and eternal significance.
“My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).