March 23rd, 2021 – Tuesday Early Evening
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” ~John 3:30
Here within this verse John the Baptist expressed what is perhaps the preeminent attitude that is necessary for us to truly follow Christ. It is not just a great concept and a lofty, but improbable goal; no, our decrease and His increase is what dying to self and living to God is all about. It is here that the “rubber hits the road”, so to speak. John’s words should pierce our prideful and self-seeking hearts and cause us to pause in brokenness and awe.
What does it mean that He increase and I decrease in our personal context? For starters, it means that we must be absorbed with and by Him. Instead of seeking my own selfish gain or merely looking to help those around me, my first concern must be my Master’s glory and will. This drives me to prayer and to the Word of God and to waiting on the Lord; His ways and His character and His honor become my desire and my focus, over and above any and every other wish, dream, desire, and plan. At the same time, He is indwelling me with His Spirit and enabling me to be absorbed by Him – the old man is crucified and I am raised to life with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
The thought struck me this morning that the reality of this verse really pops out when we get into trials, struggles, and suffering. Why? Because He uses these things to strip away the material and superficial layers of me and causes my heart to be tender and raw to Him in a way that is seemingly not possible when everything is fine and dandy. Trials reveal our weaknesses and our inabilities, but they also reveal His strength and His capability. This revealing (and the ensuing humble submission on my part that should follow) sets up the win-win situation where my flesh decreases (a VERY good thing for me and everyone else!) and His authority, power, and grace in me and upon me increase.
Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves some questions: Is Jesus increasing in authority and prominence in my life? Is He the One people think of when they meet me or we part ways? Are people being attracted to Him through my broken life? Am I experiencing a deeper and fuller understanding of His goodness and grace, even in the midst of great hardship and pain? The opposite questions also reveal who is increasing and who is decreasing.
Oh God! May You be the One who is increasing in our lives! May we continue to set our hearts on You and allow You to enable us to put the flesh to death. May You be ever glorified in and through us and may You receive the honor and the glory that You are so due!