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Sunday, March 01, 2020

Increase and Decrease

There was a time when both Jesus and His disciples and John the Baptist and his disciples were baptizing at the same time. Scripture indicates that Jesus was gaining a wider following than John even though John had been at it longer. John's disciples complained. "Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness — look, He is baptizing, and all are going to him." (John 3:26) John has a wonderful monologue in which he compares Jesus to a bridegroom and himself as a best man, so to speak, and how glad he was that Jesus was on the ascendant. "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30)

We who are followers of Christ get that. We rejoice in that. We celebrate it ... in theory. We know in our heads that He must increase and I must decrease. Yes. Absolutely. We know that in our lives He must increase and I must decrease. We know that in our relationships and families and jobs and homes He must increase and I must decrease. We know that He is the highest. He is God; we are not. We get that.

And, yet ...

Somehow we miss it so very often. We agree that He must increase and we must decrease and then complain that they aren't doing worship the way I like or I'm not getting enough recognition for the things I do. He must increase and I must decrease but I'm still the most important person on the planet, apparently, because almost everything is evaluated from my personal preferences and perspectives. I'm not talking about comparing actions and attitudes to Scripture; I'm talking about "me" versus everyone else. It's good if they align with me and bad if they don't.

The fact is He must increase and I must decrease. The fact is that goes against everything human about us, where we believe that we must increase and everyone else decrease. Like "in humility count others more significant than yourselves," (Php 2:3) it does not come naturally. We have to see it. We have to work at it. We have to submit and obey. Thank God He is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (Php 2:13).

1 comment:

Craig said...

Unfortunately I’m on the side that agrees it’s necessary, but can’t live it out well.