Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Increase. Decrease.

In case you haven't been in NewSong lately,  Jim has started the new series "The Me I Want to Be" and I've been thoroughly enjoying it! There are so many people, especially Christians, who are always posting encouraging thoughts and pictures on Facebook and saying things that spur you on to be a better person, a harder worker, more relaxed, more wealthy, less greedy, more giving, more in-shape, a better cook, a better employee, a better independent, a better whatever! I know that their little posts are sometimes helpful. So are the little desktop calendars. So are the text messages of encouragement. And the chain emails about being better. And in case you hadn't noticed, the book stores and online book stores are filled with self-help books.

But through all of those things, there are very few "handles" on which you can grab onto and actually spur yourself on to become a better version of yourself. There are tons of Bible verses that help, but when taken out of context and shortened down, it's hard to figure it all out. However, I think Jim has been giving us some good handles on which we can pull ourselves up, with the help of the Lord, to becoming a better version of ourselves.

Sometimes, I get bogged down in not trying hard enough to be a better Christian. Or when I've been really busy with work, laundry, etc., I get to feeling guilty that I didn't take time for Bible study.
My professor this semester keeps repeating John 3:30 "He must increase but I must decrease." A few days ago, I was driving and praying, telling the Lord I was sorry for not studying the Bible before I went to bed the night before. And my guilt started increasing in my heart. I knew that He promised that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins (1 John1:9). He's faithful to love us even when we've been fair weather friends to Him. But even knowing that, my guilt for missing Bible study was growing.

Then I remembered,

He must increase. I must decrease.

I need to get myself out of the way of what He's doing in my life. I need to stop suffocating the process with guilt and frustration that I'm not better. He, and all the good things He's pouring out on me, must increase in my life. I, and all the things that go with me, must decrease.

I let my selfishness go. I let my guilt and apologizing roll away. I decreased myself and let His presence and forgiveness increase in my heart.  So now on days when I haven't measured up to what I feel like I should be, I remember, "He must increase. I must decrease." I'll never be the best me if I'm full of myself. The more I think on Him, pray, worship and talk with God, the better me I'll become.

This past week in worship, we sang these songs:
"Cannons" by Phil Wickham
"One Thing Remains" by Kristian Stanfill
"Jesus, Son of God" by Chris Tomlin
and for offering, my favorite of the day,
"Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant (her acoustic version is available on iTunes as well!)

And with that, I'm looking forward to hearing what Jim has to say on Sunday about taking our thoughts captive to Christ! He, Jeremy and I talked about how hard that truly is, and so I'm looking forward to what he has to say!

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