Saturday, September 12, 2015

HE Must Increase; I Must Decrease (into a shrinking sistah)!

 "He must become greater; I must become less." 
John 3:30

So how am I doing as a shrinking sistah? I think I look smaller, right? Hey, this decreasing of self is an ongoing process, ya know. Life-long actually. 

Anyone who is a true disciple of the Master Teacher Jesus Christ knows His school of Higher Education never closes. Nope. His creation is our classroom and His Word is the only textbook we need to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). 

Of course, this is a life-long process for those of us who follow Jesus. We never "arrive" in this life but we have a magnificent graduation ceremony in heaven! 

But until then we humbly "study to show ourselves approved to God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed" (2 Timothy 2:15), by faithfully seeking Him in His Word, praying daily with the help of His Holy Spirit, worshiping Him wholeheartedly,  and bringing Him glory with everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31)!

His teachings are in total opposition of what the world teaches. Jesus speaks in a spiritual sense. He told Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns" (Mark 8:33). However, the world is obsessed with only the physical, the material. The world teaches that a self-centered life is what makes a person great, while the Bible speaks to people’s hearts with a Christ-centered focus and says “humility and the  fear of the LORD bring wealth and  honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).  

This Biblical instruction and lifestyle was simplified  for us when John the Baptist said these words about Jesus, "He must increase I must decrease" (John 3:30). BAM! It's not about us.

If we are humble-spirited and faithful to follow the teachings of Jesus,  we will gladly take ourselves off center stage and joyfully point others to Christ as the main attraction: “...Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (Isaiah 26:8).

The world insists that we must achieve our own greatness by being power hungry and to feed ourselves on greed, manipulation and little white lies to get what we want. But Scripture says our Divine Instructor must become so great in our hearts and minds that there will no longer be room for selfish behavior, idolatry, and deceit. Nope. Instead, we're taught, "He must become greater...". 

You know, we were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Are you truly enjoying Him? You know, spending time with Him and allowing your affections to increase toward Him?

When God sent Samuel to find the next king of Israel He told him, ‘“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart'” (I Samuel 16:7).  

John the Baptist knew of Jesus’ greatness because He knew Jesus and that He came to earth to save sinners as the Son of God! John said,  “After me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry” (Matthew 3:11). 

One of Judah’s kings, Jehoshaphat, also honored the greatness of God. When he was faced with a massive army of his enemies ready to attack he prayed to God, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). He was totally dependent on God and their enemies were defeated!

 This is how we live out John 3:30, by acknowledging God's greatness and our total dependence on Him -- because He is so very great! 

Several years ago God put it on my heart to host a county-wide women’s conference.  I knew I needed His help and guidance. I knew the idea was from God because I could see the path He was blazing for me to encourage women in the Lord. He had given me marketing skills, a network of Christians in the marketplace and a passion to encourage women with the word of God. But there still was so much I needed to learn! He began to teach me and guide me. It was amazing. His Holy Spirit prompted me to memorize three verses to carry in my heart so I could faithfully follow His leadership. 

1--“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you” (Psalm 32:8).
2--“Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:15). 
3--“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

God was opening my eyes and heart to His unending greatness. I understood He was speaking this message into my heart: “Keep acknowledging to the world that I have given you the idea, the provision, the protection and the blessings and I will help you every step of the way.  Don’t make this about how great you are for doing this; make this conference about My Greatness. Give Me the glory.”  Yep. I really didn't know what I was doing as the conference founder. I just knew I was supposed to lead it. 

Pride is sin. Pride is worldliness. Pride is our enemy. I understood. It had to be all about God: His leadership. His agenda. His purpose. His glory. And yep, and overflow of His favor began! It was gushing from all the prayers and the labors of love from: the local Christian school and staff who provided the location, the ladies' ministry from my church who prepared a gourmet breakfast,  and the support and excitement of the women in the community, all of whom provided help.  The local conference was richly blessed in every way!

I was thrilled to give God all the glory! I learned from my Master Teacher that He is not only very great, but He is “faithful in all He does" (Psalm 33:4).

Jesus is not only LORD and Savior but He is the Ultimate Teacher who blesses His students with His greatness and His love. "I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods." (Psalm 135:5).

I have also learned when I take my eyes off of (my)self ("but whataboutme, whataboutME??") and I earnestly seek Him and exalt Him in my heart and mind, I have so much joy and peace. It's because I'm reminded that in His greatness He rules over all things with His love and His wisdom. 

And I'm reminded, "God's got this." And "God's got that, too!" I am honored and thankful to continue to receive loving, wise instruction from the Greatest Teacher in the universe!

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom." (Psalm 145:3).

For HIS glory alone... and for the love of my sistahs!
Polly :)

This post is an updated version of a devotion from my third book, Totally Devoted 3. I'm in the process of preparing my entire trilogy of devotionals into Kindle editions, Lord willing! Prayers always appreciated! 

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