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Less of Me
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John tells us in chapter 3, verse 30 that Jesus must increase and he (and we) must decrease. In other words, in order to increase God's cause, we must decrease our own. Do you ever have trouble decreasing? I mean, it's hard enough to decrease a clothes size or decrease the budget. But decreasing self is another thing all together. Still, John says it's necessary both for the glory of God and for the good of our spiritual selves. As hard and unnatural as it may be to decrease self, maybe some practical steps would be helpful.

1. Make God's reputation paramount. It's so easy to protect our own reputation, even if we've been misunderstood in doing something for God. For example, we may have worked very hard in promoting and carrying out a very successful ministry, which is reeping rewards for God's mission. Then somewhere in the process, we get criticized or misunderstood. Human nature urges us to set the record straight, but John urges us to remember that the mission itself is the point of focus. If we listen to John, we are decreasing in order to allow God to increase.

2. Remember that God is trustworthy! The more we trust God, the more we surrender. The more we surrender, the more can trust God! Surrender is decreasing.

3. Recognize that decreasing isn't demeaning. Decreasing is not confessing that we are worthless. To the contrary, decreasing is confessing that we are ready to accept great power and love and vision and strength from the One who we are increasing by our humility. God's power is made perfect in our weakness. The direct result of that is that we are then made powerful! So decreasing is a wonderful step toward spiritual empowerment. The key is to remember that God is the power source, not us.

4. Only when we decrease (surrender) can we fully realize our God-created identity. Anything less is a rip-off to God and to us. It is foolish to operate a vehicle contrary to what the designer's instructions have laid out for us to follow. Likewise, it is foolish for us to think that we can operate our own identity outside of our Designer's specific plan.

5. Keep your eye on the prize. If we keep focused on Jesus, God's kingdom, eternal life and helping others to accept it with us, it will be much more natural for us to decrease because we will be seeing the power of God increasing before our eyes.

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