He Must Increase; I Must Decrease
Well, we are coming up quick on fall, my absolute favorite season of the year! I love to be outside during the fall season. I love the weather and the beautiful colors that paint the outdoors.
As each season does, autumn is a time that makes me reflect on my faith journey. In the spring, we often think of new life in Christ as we see new life sprouting up all around us. The fall however reminds me of what it means to die. I’m not talking about physical death, but death to self. Just as the trees and plants shed their leaves and are naturally pruned to make way for new life and growth, we experience the same type of thing. As we learn to die to ourselves, the Holy Spirit is allowed more space in our hearts and minds to make us new. Jesus calls us to die to ourselves in Mark 8:34-35 “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
So you see, as we continue to die to ourselves and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord, we are sanctified. That is, we become more holy, or in other words, becoming more and more like Jesus. Our perspective becomes more like His perspective. We don’t often talk about John the Baptist as being a math whiz, but he had the equation exactly right: He must increase; I must decrease.
So the question for each of us is this: what things in my life do I need to sacrifice? What are the things in my life that I need to die to, so that I may decrease and He may increase? In my opinion, this is one of the most difficult parts of living the Christian life, but also the most rewarding and enlightening. I hope you are challenged with these thoughts.