“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Kenneth Wuest’s expanded translation states it this way: “It is necessary in the nature of the case for that One to become constantly greater but for me constantly to be made less.”
I love this! The very nature of Christ in our lives is that all things related to Him are constantly tending towards increase. There is no end to the potential for His fruit, His glory, His nature to fill us and be manifested through us. Ephesians 1:23 says He “fills all in all.” Fullness, increase is His nature.
For us, however, our role of decreasing is contrary to everything in our nature, for we long to increase also. We want to increase our power, fortune, reputation, control, and the list is probably near to endless. So for those of us who belong to Jesus, those who really long to walk with Him, He will not entrust this work of decreasing to us. My observation has been that when I try to decrease by my own will, I will inevitably overlook the most problematic areas because those are frequently the most painful to deal with. But the Lord knows exactly where the death blow should fall and He knows exactly what type of execution will be most effective. And thus it is by His hand that I am made to decrease.
For John the Baptist, decrease was not optional. I don’t think it is for me either. I must decrease and Jesus must help me to decrease. Sometimes when I am going through a time of decreasing, I am tempted to think His ways are harsh. Physical death is not pretty or painless. Dying to self isn’t either. But He recently reminded me that I do not die for His pleasure, but for my pleasure. He knows the joy that will be mine as He increases in my life. He has heard the desperate prayers to know Him and walk with Him. He knows how intensely I want this, so He is willing to do what is necessary, even if it seems harsh and risks being misunderstood. Knowing this, that all of His dealings are the pathway to receiving the greatest longing of my heart, I can rejoice in His goodness to me, even in the midst of difficulty.
Receiving a heavenly perspective can make a world of difference.