Angela Hays Moore has a passion for God, and His Son, Jesus, and in sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom message, one heart at a time. Angela, with her husband, Tony, and their five children, are active within their community in Knightstown, Indiana, planting a church - Knightstown Family Fellowship. Angela enjoys writing and speaking, and is the author of an illustrated children’s book, “Maggie Seeks the Kingdom of God.”
Time to Downsize
by Angela Moore
(Giving up the Supersized Deception for the Truth that Satisfies)
In the past decade, we’ve seen everything super sized: From the french fries we order at the local fast food restaurant and the mega drinks of 44 oz at the local gas station, to the 60 inch flat screen TV’s; to the houses we live in, and the SUV’s that we drive. The marketing blitz combined with society’s message which screams to us that we need this or that to find happiness, is misleading and downright deceptive! When we finally obtain whatever earthly prize that has struck our fancy at the moment, we realize that the reality falls surprisingly flat. The joy is only temporary.
“He must increase; but I must decrease.”
In John 3:38, John the Baptist said these words. He was referring to Jesus, in a response to John’s disciples who had come to him, to report that Jesus was spending time and baptizing people, and people were going to him, rather than John. John takes this news in stride, and replies, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John is thrilled and actually quite happy that Jesus’ ministry is beginning to take off and thrive. After all, Jesus is the bridegroom of the church [the bride of Christ - Revelation 21:9, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.“]. John’s duty was to prepare the way for Christ Jesus, and his work was almost finished. It was time for Christ Jesus to take the spotlight: front and center. “He must increase, but I must decrease,” is a good reminder to all of us today. If we are followers of Jesus Christ, we too, are his ambassadors, showing people the way to him; discipling them, to help them grow up and be more like Jesus. Being lights to the world we must show others that the way to eternal life is through Jesus, the Messiah.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” We must keep in mind that Jesus is to receive the glory, not ourselves. He is to be increasing, his kingdom of saints multiplying, not ourselves. While the world’s way is to SUPER SIZE: to buy into the concept that bigger is always better, goes directly against the grain of what Scripture teaches us. We are to actually be decreasing. Our wants, our desires, our demands in this life should be minimizing, as Jesus’ wants, desires and demands upon us should be increasing. The attention on ourselves should be minimized, while the focus on Christ Jesus and his worthiness as our sacrificial Lamb should be increasing!
We are not our own, but bought for a price. We are slaves to Christ Jesus. We need to be decreasing in our fleshly pursuits and stepping aside, to leave room for the Spirit of Jesus to dwell inside of our hearts. We need to be transformed into being his instruments, his hands and feet, to reach out in the world in love. This is not so that we can be puffed up with pride and increase ourselves. Rather it is so that Jesus, the bridegroom, may increase his presence in the world; so that more and more people will see HIM and turn to him for their salvation. In John 15:5, Jesus tells us, “for apart from me, you can do nothing.” The people of the world grab for fame and fortune so that people will notice them and what they are doing. God’s way is opposite: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness, is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:5-7). We are reminded that we are nothing but people made of the dust of the earth, formed into clay vessels, in order for God’s glory to shine and radiate brightly through us, for the sake of sharing Jesus as Lord with others!
We need to learn to decrease, so that others can see what true submission to our king looks like. We need to willingly sacrifice ourselves, die to our own passions. This is so that his life may be lived out in us and through us, just as God’s will and purpose was lived out in Jesus and through Jesus! Jesus was our model of what this should look like. He humbled himself and his own will, to obey His Father’s, so that the one LORD GOD could be glorified in his life! If we make the decision to "decrease" we, too, can reflect God’s glory through dying daily to ourselves. “More of Jesus and less of me!” should be our prayer!
One thing that I have learned over and over again is that as I submit myself to Christ, the result is always better than what I would have chosen for myself. That is because his plans for me are best. And it is because of him living in me that I can accomplish those good things. As John the Baptist’s joy was made full when he realized Jesus was increasing, while his own role was decreasing, we too will learn. When we give our desires over to letting Christ shine through us, we will find life and love, and have it in abundance, more so than we could have ever imagined before.
Psalm 20:4 has always been one of my favorite verses. It says, “May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” I used to think that it meant I would be granted every selfish desire that I could have, and wondered at that possibility. But, now I know. When you put God first and seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, He does fill your heart’s desire. But it is because those desires begin to morph into God’s desires for you. It is that which He has wanted to give you all along! In fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, we live out God’s dreams for ourselves. Many people do not realize his dreams for us are better than our own dreams.
The love of God is priceless and so rich, deep, and amazing. That is why finding the Kingdom of Heaven is likened to a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he goes and sells everything that he owned to be able to buy it. So too, is decreasing ourselves, so that Christ Jesus can increase. His love, his purpose and passion about the coming Kingdom, His God and Father who loves us so, is just that good. Don’t be fooled by the deception of this world, and miss the Kingdom’s treasures while trying to grab for the super size. It’s only a false imitation of the glory and riches that God offers us through Christ Jesus. This is the only truth that truly satisfies. To obtain it, we must decrease, in order that Christ Jesus will increase within us and through us to be a light to others.
Here is my prayer for you:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21.