I Must Decrease
For anyone who might be just jumping in now, I trusted Jesus when I was eleven years old. You can read how it all happened here. I then began on an incredible journey with God that has brought me to this place today. It's been a passage marked by unspeakable joys with some great heartache mixed in. Jesus has never left me. Not for one moment. It's been nearly fifty years. He showed Himself to me early, and I thought it awesome then. But that was just a taste. Now I know Him more fully. He is my wonderful Redeemer. He is the Lord God Almighty. But He is also my Daddy and my closest Friend. I wish I could say that I just decided that this relationship would be nice and claimed it one day. But that's not how it works. God has taught me His incredible presence and peace through the darkest of my days, not through those filled with the most sunshine. And I wouldn't trade even one of those days now for all of the tea in China. I am rich beyond measure. My thought today is a simple one. I'll be quick. But it's been on my heart to write for many weeks. It was my very first pastor's life verse. And as a young Christian, I thought it was the most confusing thing that I had ever heard in my life. It didn't help that he had it written on everything that bore his name. Church bulletins, letterhead, business cards, and his hand-scribbled notes--always the same. John 3:30. "He must increase, but I must decrease." What in the world could that mean? Why would God write that in the Bible? God is the All in All. He's the Beginning and the End. What is bigger than that? How could He increase? How could He get any bigger? And as for me--I was already the smallest of the small. The least of all God's children. How in the world could I get any smaller than that? How could I decrease from where I already was? But you see, this verse is about the pride of man. And I can clearly see now what I couldn't see then. I didn't know that it was even within me. I'm so glad that God had me start from there. Because even from that humble mind set of a child, I quickly learned the meaning of pride within myself, and have battled it all of my Christian life. I learned what my pastor already knew. He had been very close to becoming a medical doctor when he got saved and God called him to preach. He walked away from that and obeyed God. But he knew his battle. His battle was self. His battle was pride. We just talked the other day of the seven things that God hates. Here it is again, in case you missed it. Proverbs 6:16-19~ "These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." A proud look!?! God says He hates that. It's an abomination to Him! My heart is filled with thoughts on pride. Of the battles that I have fought. I hate that about myself. That I would dare for even a second to think myself to be something, when I am absolutely nothing without Him. In my life and in my own eyes, He must increase every day. And that will only happen if I allow myself to decrease. To think less of myself. To stay humble and broken and empty before Him. "He must increase, but I must decrease."