All I Did Was Blink

Being 39: Where I've been, Where I am, and Where I'm going…

He must increase, but i must decrease January 27, 2011

Filed under: Life — itsahappyblog @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,
John the Baptist baptizing Christ

Image via Wikipedia

Earlier today I used this phrase in a comment left on yesterday’s post. Actually, I said, “less of me, more of Him.” I have used this as a tagline in my email. I have thought about how the phrase as it reads could apply to my everyday life. But as soon as I typed the response to my friend a while ago, I decided I needed a refresher about where the words are found in scripture and the context in which they were first spoken.

John 3: 26-31 NASB

26And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”

27John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

28“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’

29“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.

30“He must increase, but I must decrease.

31“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth He who comes from heaven is above all.

A few personal observations (disclaimer – this is not intended as a theological commentary in ANY way):

John the Baptist‘s followers were coming to John to say that Jesus was baptizing as John had been and that He (Jesus) appeared to be gaining many followers, in fact, taking from Johns own flock. Based on John’s response, it seems they were concerned that John was loosing his celebrity, his numbers were dropping. John’s use of this phrase seems to be saying, ‘Look, this is exactly what I have tried to explain to you all along. My role has been to announce His arrival and to create a that He is here, I need to fade into the background! My peeps should really be His peeps if I have done my part correctly. It thrills my soul to hear what you are telling me right now!!’

So, how does this phrase really relate to me and my everyday life?

First, I never want eyes on me for the sake of my edification. If there is anything good or right that comes out of my mouth, the glory should all go to the One I follow. Pride has no place in my service to Him.

Second, I rejoice greatly when I hear of what God is doing in and through others. I get excited about eternity when I see that God’s word is penetrating the souls of men no matter who may have been the message bearer in His name. Jealousy only serves to keep me from being productive in whatever opportunities may be before me at any given moment.

Third, and this one is a bit of a departure from the context found in John chapter 3, my use of this phrase specifically as it pertains to yesterday’s post and the comments that followed was meant to convey that I never want the challenges of my life to shine brighter than the One who sees me through them!

Maybe I am way off base here. Maybe I am still not clear on the applicability of this phrase to my personal life. I would love to hear from YOU, readers, on the subject. Leave a comment at the end of this post. Lets ‘talk’. 😉


2 Responses to “He must increase, but i must decrease”

  1. I enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Since you asked, here are my thoughts: A little bit off topic, but I sometimes wonder if we don’t try and read too much into Scripture. This verse is a great example. It has been used for years by people to infer that as we become “better Christians”, our unique individuality will diminish and be replaced by the character and person of Jesus.

    In my opinion, John is merely saying that since his ministry was to prepare the way for Jesus, now that Jesus was on the scene, John’s ministry was nearing completion.

    Now, since none of us have been called to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, there is no parallel in this verse for us. True, we are called to prepare the way for the second coming of the Messiah, but we will not step aside until Jesus comes again.

    Of course it is a very worthy goal to become more like Jesus, but to use phrases like – “More of Him, less of me.” or “If there is anything good or right that comes out of my mouth, the glory should all go to the One I follow.” – is self-deprecating and, in my opinion, these phrases lead to guilt and shame more than not.

    I think a better way to look at this concept is to strive to become more like Jesus through the talents and blessings that God has given you. God made you exactly the way you are – he loves you the way you are. Good and bad. His grace is eternal and never changes, regardless of your actions. What’s the bumper sticker say? “God doesn’t make junk.”

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful insights. I do agree that the verse in it’s context was just as you say, pointing out the winding down of John the Baptist’s ministry to prepare the way for Jesus. I hope that comes across in my post to some degree.

      As to the phrase being used in my day to day life, I appreciate where you are coming from. Have I been looking at the decrease of self as removing who I am so all that’s left is the ‘character and person of Jesus’? Hmm. Maybe I have. If so, you have given me much to think about. My intention was to remind myself that my sin nature needed to be controlled and that Jesus’ character traits needed to be adopted. But I do see how guilt and shame follow this train of thought as my failings can cause me to ‘beat myself up’.

      I am not so much saying that any time God sees fit to use me in no way has anything to do with my God-given talents and blessings…after all He did choose me in said moment. Without sounding prideful, I generally do like myself. That is to say, I do not want to loose my unique individuality!

      In an upcoming post I will be talking about God’s grace. I am so thankful that is is eternal and never changes. From what I have learned of you in my very brief visit to your blog, I want to believe that you are not trying to say God loves me as is and has no intention that I grow and mature. I know myself well enough to be certain that there is plenty of room for change.

      I look forward to future interactions and am going to spend some time reading through your blog tonight…

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