I Must Decrease So He Can Increase

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The human race has a problem. This problem first appeared in the heavenly world when Lucifer exalted himself. The problem was transferred to the earth when Adam and Eve felt they could rise above the clear direction that was given them by God Himself – Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. This rebellion attempted to elevate man above his Creator but succeeded only in starting him on a slide away from Him and trouble ensued. We know the after effects of what happened next by what is recorded in Scripture and by what we all experience today. The scene above is reenacted today when we think the answer to the predicaments we get ourselves into or that God ordains that we pass through somehow lies in our own intelligence or ability. Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall (1Co 10:12).
It makes all the difference what we are standing on. As we begin our sojourn as a Christian, we know that we are on the foundation that no man can lay - only Jesus. Ephesians 2:19-20 says, Now therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. The problem is our old enemy – the devil - knows this as well. He knows that when we allow something into our life that helps us forget who we are and erodes the foundation of Jesus Christ on which we stand, we have allowed him a foothold in which he can elevate himself in our lives. His bag of tricks to distract us and shake us is always changing and adapting to sneak in unawares and trip us up. The roaring lion approach is a frontal and blustering attack wearing down the righteous through persecution, torture, and death.
But also in his bag is the appeal of materialism and plenty. This angel of light approach has also been successful. He is luring disciples of Christ away from the hardships of the pilgrim journey with the soft and gentle winds of drift and apostasy. Sadly, this approach also has been successful. Whether in history or in the present, faithful followers of Christ have been under siege by his assault.
What is the key to victory? How can we best encourage one another in the battle? It is real! There is a God! There is a devil! The warfare is raging! How can we win? What are the important points of strategy for our battle plan? The Christian needs to be circumspect on all sides, but this article focuses on an attitude that feeds the entire structure of our fighting apparatus.
Jesus said in John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. And John the Baptist at the beginning of his ministry noted He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). These two passages taken together indicate our position as serving under our King Jesus Christ. When we choose to allow Jesus Christ to reign supreme in our lives, we enlist as servants under his Lordship. This position under Christ means that we need to decrease so that He can increase. One or the other reigns supreme - myself or my King.
In the battle to be in this world but not of this world, at times we need to look at ourselves from a vantage point outside ourselves. (Often it seems this perspective is best given by those who have not grown up in the Mennonite Church but have adopted it as their own. The writer is clearly at a disadvantage here, although we all “adopt” it as our own.) How are we doing? Are we winning? Or losing? Maybe it is time for more reinforcements? Are the ranks thinning because of weariness in the battle? What are some fronts that may need strengthening?
Are we satisfied to be involved with the lowly needs of the earth or are we aiming for global impact? Jesus’ focus was not “Impacting the World” but meeting the needs of the lowly, hurting souls who He met on a daily basis. While we do not want to minimize ministries that have the capabilities of impacting millions systematically, we need to ask the question- how long has it been since I gave a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. We need to remember the saints in heaven said in response to their reward, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (Matt 25:37). We need to remember our pride is in our King – not in our institutions or organizations.
Are we growing weary of the narrow way? Are visions of easier and wider roads swirling in our minds? It is interesting to note that some Christians who serve the greatest King do a lot of grumbling about the state of the way He asks them to travel. These grumblers are identified by the size of their recreational vehicles, trucks, boats, houses, businesses, gyms, and even smartphones. They are having difficulty fitting on the narrow, upward climb and often seem to be searching for wider roads to accommodate all the things they “need” not realizing the way is trending downward. It is time to do some decreasing, so He can increase.
Is our light shining brightly? Our King is noted for His light. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. In the natural world, any light needs to have a source of energy. The source of energy requires a strong connection in order to transmit the energy fully to the light. Two questions need to be considered.
First of all, am I plugged into the source? If the connection has never been made the light is not a true light. In fact, it is a false and misleading light. A light plugged into the world is a Satanic light that will increase man and all his selfish works. Pseudo-Christian psychology is an example of the light of man unplugged from his King and Creator.
Secondly, Is my connection good? Jesus said in Matthew 5:15-16, Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Connections tend to disintegrate over time resulting in dimming, flickering and finally a loss of power. To let it shine is to prevent any aging of the connection. Is my love for my King growing dim? When electrical connections become weak, they make more heat and less light. Is it time to do some rewiring? Lustful thoughts, selfishness, unforgiving spirits, disrespect for authority, disregard for tradition, and fears of man all dim our light and produce an ungodly heat that destroys our connection with the Light of the world.
It may be helpful to remember that we are not a light in ourselves. When the light is coming from us, we are increased, and He is decreased. We need to decrease so He can increase.
How do I view myself in relation to my brother? The scenario goes like this… My viewpoint has to be correct. There is really only one way to look at x-y-z. It is obvious to me because of my background, theological perspective, and traditional leanings. Plus the scripture seems to support my reasoning… While we need to have standards that do not stand in opposition to Bible doctrine, we also recognize we need a brotherhood to help us come to positions on the practical areas of separation in our daily lives. According to 1 John 3:14, one of the indications that we have passed from death unto life is whether we love the brethren that God placed beside me in church life. 1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. May I be willing to esteem my brother better than myself.
May God help us to increase in our love for our King and decrease in our love of self and this selfish evil world. Our level of increase in love for our King directly correlates with a decrease of our affections of earth. May we be faithful so that one day we will increase and be seated in heavenly places with Him! And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).