"I must decrease, but He must increase." (John 3:30)
Did you notice that the above verse was misquoted? John the Baptist did not say it as it is shown, but many interpret it that way. We feel we have to put an end to our own personality to make room for Jesus.
"For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." (Luke 14:11)
There is a tremendous difference between self-abasement and the exaltation of Jesus. There is also a tremendous difference between humility and self-abasement.
Self-abasement has its roots in Eastern religion, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, which require the destruction of the individual personality. The delusion is that the process can't be accomplished without total concentration upon self. What appears to be self-abasement, is perverted self-exaltation.
It is a natural law that everything we resist, persists. When we try to put down our own flesh by resisting our impulses, the impulses get stronger and more persistent. It is impossible to successfully fight flesh with flesh. We lose every time. The world is full of Christians frustrated from having lost one fleshly battle after another.
The solution is simple, but we overlook it. The key lies in the first three words (in proper order) of our Scripture: "He must increase." The increase comes before the decrease.
Jesus didn't come to suppress or destroy life, He came to give abundant life. He didn't ask us to occupy precious time doing battle with ourselves. We can't concentrate upon Him at the same time we concentrate upon our own flesh.
How do we accomplish what John the Baptist accomplished? How does Jesus increase, and we decrease? We change our perspective. If our goal is to decrease to give Jesus room, we miss the point. If our goal is humility, we'll never reach it. To be genuine, humility must be the by-product of something greater.
It is the same with our decrease. It occurs as the unconscious result of a greater, constantly increasing power. It starts with the heart. As we abide in His word, we find that its meaning continually expands to touch more of our lives. His growth in us is gradual but continual.
We first approach His word to learn of Him and to satisfy our curiosity about eternal truths. Then we discover that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. His design for life is different and better than we thought. This brings us to a point of decision. We decide whether or not we are willing to enter His kingdom and submit to His kingship.
Jesus said the kingdom is within.
Are we ready to allow Him to increase, knowing the result will be a decrease in our own self-determination?
Do we have an inner fear that we may suffer loss of identity?
Are we willing to forget ourselves to focus our thoughts and our lives toward Jesus only?
Are we ready to change the meaning of our lives?
If we submit to His kingship we have no choice, we step into His kingdom and trust Him with the results. Through the past 2,000 years, every disciple has had to change his priorities.
A step into the kingdom of Jesus Christ requires a refocus of every part of our being. Commitment is a strong word, but it is inadequate. A heart-change is essential, not something activated by emotion, but rather the outcome of a determined decision. He knows when we make that resolution in our hearts, and He begins His increase.
At that point we forget about self-abasement, and humility, and decrease, and all the rest. Our point of concentration becomes Jesus Christ. Our self-importance goes down the drain with the rest of the garbage. We stop doing battle with the flesh because we know our King is gently stripping it away. Our energies are spent exalting Christ in our hearts. The relationship we establish fulfills John 3:30!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Am I focusing upon my progress, or His?