He must increase but I must decrease

Denying one's own self for the gain of Jesus Christ is an awesome thing. When someone truly realizes that they must decrease their lives (self interest, personal gain, work, family, friends, etc...) so that God can increase its a very freeing realisation.

In John 3:30, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

It's only when this is done and we deny ourselves that we can truly love all people out of a Christ like nature. This love is a love that is not self seeking in any way, that is not self gratifying or boastful to any measure. If love is not out of a complete attitude of service to the recipient then it could be argued that it's not truly love.

The writer of Philippans had an extraordinary understanding of this and counted all things as loss to the glory of Christ.

1Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.
2Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Truly this is how I desire to live out this life.

God help me.

1 comment:

Havok said...

Ryan: Denying one's own self for the gain of Jesus Christ is an awesome thing.

Ryan: Truly this is how I desire to live out this life.

Isn't desire something you want for yourself, therefore selfish?
I know I'm being (painfully) pedantic, but it seems that in wishing to deny your self and you self interest you are actually following your selfish interests anyway. There's no way around it really. You want to be more "Christ like" YOU believe it is a good thing, it makes YOU feel good

I'm a very altruistic person (you'll have to trust me on this), and I go out of my way to help my friends and family, often to the detriment of myself.
Yet I do this, ultimately for selfish reasons. It makes ME feel good to help friends. It makes ME feel good to know that they love me and appreciate what I do for them.

Isn't what you're advocating just a variation on this theme?

I think the interesting question is, which selfish desires should be encouraged and which condemned and/or punished, not which desires are selfish and which are not :-)