He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
I took an apologetics class during my last semester of seminary. Halfway through the semester, doors opened, and God placed a clear call on my life to Boston. (Another story for another time.) When my professor learned I was preparing to move to New England, one of the world’s intellectual hubs, he said, “All you learned this semester will be helpful as you serve.
I replied, “I’m not smart enough to debate or challenge even after taking your class. All I really know is what Christ has done for me.”
Almost 30 years later the same rings true. I have to keep my faith simple and focus on Jesus. John 3:30 presents this message so clearly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
This simple message crosses into every area of life.
He Must Increase
How do we increase Jesus? If we are keeping it simple, then we live in His light. We listen to His words in Scripture; we listen and talk with Him through prayer; we fellowship with other believers; and we serve others as His hands and feet.
I am grammatically challenged, to say the least, so commas are hard for me. I seem to add too many at times and then omit them when they make a significant difference.
There are a lot of rules for the comma. So I keep it simple and know this comma is important because it represents a pause. It’s a time of waiting instead of rushing to action. After Jesus increases, I must pause and allow my Savior to change me from the inside out and transform me into His likeness.
but i must decrease
I love using lower case letters. Writing this verse with a lowercase i reminds me of the deeper meaning in this simple verse. i must decrease. That is what i am to strive to do each day. Decrease happens when the old – what i desire, prefer and want – is chiseled way and replaced with Jesus.
I am still learning to live out this verse. Some days the three parts flow into my life. Other days I find myself stuck in one or all three parts of this simple lesson. But His mercies are new each day, and I begin again in his Word, listening to His plan for the day … waiting … then following.
Allyson Clark serves as Next Generation Co-Director of Youth Ministries at the Baptist Convention of New England.