John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Every writer has heard the phrase, “kill your darlings.” Those little turns of phrase, the joke, the description on the second page of your manuscript that you love—you often have to let them go. When they don’t serve the story, you take them out, no matter how dear they are to you. If you don’t, those darlings become distractions.
I wonder if John was actually happy to decrease. He may have enjoyed having followers and preaching to the crowds in the desert, but he also knew that he wasn’t the main character of the gospel story.
It can be difficult to see ourselves as anything but the main characters in our own lives. Yet we serve something greater. We are called to love others as we love ourselves. This is a constant exercise in killing our darlings—letting go of anything that gets in the way of the larger story of God’s love. Our darlings might be our ego or our self-righteousness. Our darlings can be anything that puffs us up rather than increases the love of Christ in the world. We have to let them go.
Almighty God, you proclaim your truth in every age by many voices: Direct, in our time, we pray, those who speak where many listen and write what many read; that they may do their part in making the heart of this people wise, its mind sound, and its will righteous; to the honor of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.