J the B: “He must increase; but I must decrease.” John 3:30 KJV
“Increase” is also translated “grow”, keep that in mind.
Imagine if every Christian actually lived this one verse? I’ve grown up in a world that’s focused on me increasing. I spent years giving up work to go to school, so that I could increase. Do I sacrifice work to increase Jesus? I spent tens of thousands of dollars in school loans (or should I say we, my wife and I, are *still* spending…), so I could increase. Do I sacrifice like that for Jesus? I bought a pair of $150 sunglasses in high school…so that I could increase…something that somehow made sense back then. LOL. Would I give $150 to increase Jesus? I spent gobs of time training and practicing racquetball, so that I could increase. Would I do that for Jesus? I’ve given up a night of sleep to work on school work or make money, to increase something in my life. Do I do that to increase Jesus? I give up hours a week on _______? And we do that because? I am emotionally engaged and invested frequently with ________ ?
John the Baptist makes statements that take us right to the purposes of God. “He must increase; but I must decrease.” I’m struggling to regain and reclaim that language. It goes contrary to everything I’ve been non-verbally taught and surrounded by for decades. Let’s claim it.
When Jesus says that with “faith as small as a mustard seed” (Luke 17:6) we can cause mulberry trees to toss themselves in the ocean, he doesn’t expect us to root up Mulberry trees like David Copperfield, but that sounds really fun. I plan to play an awesome game in heaven with mulberry trees and the Green Monster with a huge sea on the other side. You can be on my team. He expects us to trust him and obey in the every day things of life because He’s the savior of the world and we have His word. He doesn’t even worry necessarily about wasting time or spending $150 that I wish I had back on Killer Loop sunglasses. I tried to find a picture of them but I’m too old for even “vintage Killer Loops” to muster up the sexy orange accoutrements I wanted folks to see me wear. But man what a sermon this could be if I could find a pair! So let me know if you find any 90’sish orange Killer Loops in yard sales this summer.
Jesus may eventually have something to say about sunglasses, but not until we get who He is, sunglasses come later. The mulberry trees he wants me to move are those deeply implanted things, things ingrained, rooted in the soil of who I am that compel me to invest financially and emotionally in increasing myself and not Jesus. The mustard seed analogy isn’t meant to make our faith out to be even smaller than a mustard see – it shows how accessible God’s power is. Tiny faith starts with letting who Jesus is rock my world. Judging others and division aren’t an option, praying for people isn’t a substitute for leading, coaching, visiting, writing, and loving people means urgently engaging, investing, being there, encouraging, getting in the lives of people that don’t know Jesus, and spending my time, money, and self to make Jesus greater. Imagine if every person that went to church Sunday did that. Man that blows my mind. God would honor that TOMORROW CHRISTIAN. If each of us invested in eternally significant things like pointing one person to Jesus, what would happen? Things greater than mulberry trees would happen, things greater than amusement parks would happen, things greater than winning would happen, things greater than vacations would happen, things greater than the seasons would happen, things greater than a working PRT would happen, things greater than the Super Bowl would happen…although that one with TN was really good. All it takes is our obedience towards making Him increase because He is the hope of the world.
[Written by Gary Gross]