Decrease

“When a newspaper posed the question, ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ the Catholic thinker G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:

‘Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely Yours, G.K. Chesterton.’

That is the attitude of someone who has grasped the message of Jesus.”

–Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God (New York: Dutton, 2008), 46.

Red and white Yield sign against a blue sky.  Keywords: Road Signs, Street Signs, Stop Sign, Yield, No Parking, Do Dumping, Do not Enter, Speed Limit, Crime Watch, Walkway, Green Light, Red Light, Left Turn Arrow, School Zone, No Swimming, No Fishing, Disabled.

Truly the Christian life is a life of yielding in submission to the King of Majesty! It’s the hardest thing in the world to do, and yet the easiest. Remember when Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” in Matthew 11:30? Well, that sounds great doesn’t it!? And it’s true. Only, it is coupled with his instruction in Luke 9:23 to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily. This is discipleship in Christ. It’s a life of decrease. A life that says, with Keller and Chesterton, “I am what is wrong with this world.” But, thanks be to God, who in His great mercy has established a life of decrease for the Christian.

In John 3:27-30, John the Baptist says, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.” You see, John understood the nature of this relationship with Christ. His glory grows, as we submit ourselves to him and humble ourselves in the sight of the mighty God (James 4:10).

The irony? Jesus emptied Himself completely when He became human and went to the cross. Philippians 2, called the “kenosis” passage, tells of his complete emptying in order that He might fulfill perfectly the covenant that God had established with Abraham all those years ago. In other words, you can’t out-humble Jesus. The Name Above All names went to death on a cross for us. And when Jesus tells us that must do the same, our faithful response must be that of John the Baptist. Lord, may you increase, as we decrease!

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