John the Second Fiddle

I struggle with jealousy and pride. I’m hoping I’m not alone in this, but they are very isolating sins, so I feel alone in this. At different points in my day today, I was faced with comments or situations where I felt like life and friends were moving on without me. Like I was being excluded or missing out. I felt like people were picking others and their activities over me and what I’ve got going on.

The feeling that comes along with jealousy is just an ugly, gnawing emotion that grips me right in my chest. I know it’s wrong. I hate it. But it’s there nonetheless, and I’m left with two options: give in to it and feed it by allowing my thoughts to wander and dwell on it or fight it.

The emotions leave me feeling so hurt and alone that it’s hard to muster up the will to battle it many times. But, thank the Lord, at this point on my walk with Him, He helps me muster up whatever it takes to fight.

So this evening, when the enemy threw another punch at me after I’d been battling all day, I desperately turned to God and His Word. Like any mature believer, I just flung my Bible open and picked whatever it landed on. (I’m kidding about the mature believer thing. A little disclaimer: This may not be the best method of searching God’s Word.) I was short on time. There was a page-ripping baby headed toward me.

The first chapter of Mark lay before me. (I personally feel sorry for Mark. It seems he’s the least popular of the gospels. Maybe he had to struggle with jealousy, too. Though he was dead by the time they put the Bible together, but, hey, it fits with my topic.) It was talking about John the Baptist. Boy, can I identify with this guy. I’m constantly putting on my camel hair coat, eating locusts, and preaching repentance. Okay, so maybe we don’t have all that much in common, but I have always been amazed by him.

John is told all his life that God has a special purpose for him. He amasses this great following and has all the Jews (even the “important” ones) coming out to hear him preach. He’s baptizing gobs of people, so many that he even picks up a nickname declaring him ‘The Baptizer.’ And then here comes this dude named Jesus. Within a few days, Jesus has stolen all John’s thunder and within months (I don’t know the exact timeline here) John is in prison waiting to lose his head and Jesus is out with mobs of people following Him around.

Turns out that God’s purpose for John was to play second fiddle. How many of us hope we can find enormous success at our job only to be completely overshadowed by somebody else at the very height of our success? But that was John’s lot in life. Do we see John getting bitter and having a little pity party with a late-night bowl of ice cream locusts and honey? No. We see him pointing to the One who gives our lives meaning when all we deserve is death. His prayer is for himself to become less and Christ to become more.

There was no room for jealousy or pride in John’s life, because he understood from the very beginning that it was never about him. He knew that the purpose of his life was to point to another. To One whose sandal he was not even worthy to untie.

God reminded me, once again, that this story ain’t about yours truly. If He wants to dismantle what I’m doing and work through other people, then so be it. If He wants to take what I’m doing and change it to suit His purposes, then so be it. If He’s done with me here on earth and wants me beheaded…well, I’m personally hoping that’s not the plan for right now. But you get the point.

“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:29-30


  1. Oh Amy, we've all been there and there's going to be a ton of people who needed to read this post!

  2. Excellent post, Amy. I struggle with this also and it is hard! Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Jill said it, I NEEDED to read this post. Thanks for sharing His truth!


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