“He must increase and I must decrease.” ~John 3:30
Today is my 35th birthday. I have only been saved for almost 14 of those years. As I reflect on my life at my mid thirties I am reminded of what John the Baptist said to his followers. They came to him saying that Jesus whom he baptized in the Jordan river was now baptizing people along with his own disciples. John responds with truth and explains the reality of what was taking place. God’s Kingdom was breaking through and it started with John’s declaration that Jesus was/is the Anointed One sent from Heaven as he witnessed the Holy Spirit descend from above and rest upon Jesus at the Jordan river. John was fulfilling his part and it was necessary that he decrease and Jesus would increase.
John knew that Christ was the bride groom and he was a part of the bride and that the bride is to come to the side of the Groom- not the other way around. As I walk out my salvation and follow the Lord Jesus, my life must look more and more unrecognizable as “my life” and must be Jesus increasing! I praise God and the Holy Spirit that my life today looks less like my own. I dont boast in my decisions to have followed Christ but like the apostle Paul, I boast in the only thing that is good in me; that is Christ Jesus!
Take an inward look today, even if it isn’t your birthday, and try to examine your life. Does it look like Christ or does your life still look very much like it belongs to you?
“You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God!” ~1 Corinthians 6:20
“Go on now, and walk the entire expanse of the land, for you need to see what I am giving you!”~ Genesis 13:17
I recently heard someone say that “grace” was our doorway into the Kingdom of God. That by grace, this unmerited favor and forgiveness, we step through and enter the vast expanse of the Kingdom of God. I have been meditating on this imagery the past several days hoping God would reveal more about Himself and this other Kingdom we are now adopted into.
When I was younger, my parents would take us to one of the biggest amusements parks in the country, called Cedar Point. Every summer I looked forward to experiencing thrilling rides, games, and shows. Every two years the park would build a new roller coaster that would break some record; either the fastest or tallest etc. There was always something new to discover when we went to the amusement park. Once we entered the park, we never just hung back at the gate watching from a distance. We sprinted into the park, exploring as much as we could in a day. It would have been devastating as a child to go into the amusement park and sit at the gates entrance. Now in comparison to my new citizenship of the Kingdom of God… it works in same way.
What excitement I felt when I accepted Jesus as my savior! What a beautiful encounter I had with the Holy One of Heaven; when He adopted me as His son. We are citizens of Heaven (Phil 3:20) and now have a new world to explore. Salvation through Jesus’s work on the cross does not mean we enter the door of grace so we can sit in the lobby waiting for Christ to return one day. I was encouraged yesterday in my reading of Genesis and the account of Abraham. God makes a covenant with Abraham and tells him to explore all that God is about to give him (Gen 13:17).
I have to think that God would want us to do the same. To go and see all that God is giving us that reside in His Kingdom. Not to kick back and casually walk around as if we are on vacation from our old life, but instead being on mission and exploring with purpose. Jesus said we are to obey all that He commanded as we go out into the world. My good friend and Pastor has been speaking about “all that Jesus commanded” (Math 28:19,20) and when I think about how my time in Gods Kingdom has been spent so far, I have barely made it past the lobby. When I was really young, I had to stay close to my parents when we went to Cedar Point. As I grew up and showed myself to be more responsible my dad would let me explore more of the amusement park on my own. He was always a phone call away but I had freedom to go off on my own. I like to think that in the same way God releases us further and further into the mysteries of His Kingdom as we grow in Him. When we gain more understanding by walking daily with our Lord, we increase our knowledge of love and truth; allowing us to freely explore more of His Kingdom.