Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Something He Put on My Heart Today

              Humility, it is something that I find very difficult, but also a great need in my everyday life. I find that when things are going good, and I am enjoying the mountain-top with Jesus, that I have a tendency to get a big head. This big head of mine can come from various places, from the praise of others, the kids at church who tell me that I am their favorite teacher, as well as my own personal thoughts about my walk with my Lord Jesus Christ. Too many times, however, this attitude of thinking myself to be something when I am not gets me into trouble. That is when the Lord God humbles me, sometimes through trials and sometimes through simple words spoken through others. But mostly, it comes straight from Him, via His Holy Word.
                Our walks are like trails through rough terrain. There are mountains to climb, rivers to cross, valleys to rest in, storms come frequently and winds blow vehemently. It is when I have just finished climbing a very steep mountain and standing at the top, looking out across all that I just came through and praising God for bringing me through it that I begin to think more highly of myself than I should.
                As I was praying this morning, words from John the Baptist came into my heart. John the Baptist was a humble servant of God. He did not consider himself to be anything or anyone and he made sure everyone knew that it was not about him, but about Jesus, the One to come after him. The words that John spoke in John 3:30 describe to me the attitude, the heart condition that I am to have at all times, in all things. John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
                These words have brought me to the place of humility many times, and they have continually spoken to me of the need for Jesus to have the preeminence of every area of my life. I have spoken them, prayed them and asked the Lord to make these words real in my heart. I do desire to decrease; I do desire to have Him increase in me. I want to be so hidden in Christ Jesus that when people look upon me they see Him first. But doing this takes time, and allowing Christ to come into my life and take over every area, every thought, every emotion, dream, hope and desire is harder than it looks. But the question that I have to ask myself, when I read these words, “Is this still my heart’s desire?” Do I seek to be brought low so that Christ can be glorified and exalted, or do I still seek to have the glory for myself?
                When you are in the midst of a trial being humble and brought low is a little easier. For trials make us see how desperate we are for Jesus and how great our need is for Him in our lives. But it is when we are on the mountain-top, it is when we are resting in the valleys that He has prepared for us that decreasing in our walks and allowing Him to increase in our hearts becomes harder.
                As I pondered on these words of John the Baptist today, I realized that to “decrease” means that I become less of me and the “increase” of Christ Jesus in my life takes over. The word “decrease” means “to make less or to be made less in dignity, authority and popularity.” The question is do we want to be “made” less by God or do we want to willingly humble ourselves and let Him take control. The more I study my bible, the more I see that all our struggles and troubles and wrestling with God comes down to one simple word- submission. Our decrease should be a willing submission to God the Father, so that He can continue the work that He has begun in me- which is to conform me into the image of Christ.
                To do this, Christ must increase in me. He must grow and become greater, and I must become less and less. I hear and listen to women who struggle everyday with the things of life; sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, loneliness and so many other bonds that tie us down. And for the first time, I really listened to what they were saying, and the Lord has shown me that it all comes down to one simple phrase, “He must increase and we must decrease.”
                We want so badly to have that great and glorious walk with Jesus Christ. We know we need Him in our lives, we know that without Him we would be lost and living in a life of sin and death, but yet we are not willing to take the next step and start the process of decreasing. We read our bibles and do our daily devotions not because we want and desire Him but because it is a habit and “that’s what Christians do.” The more we seek God, the more we submit to Him, the more Christ will increase in us. We should be so hidden in Christ that people see Him before they see us. Look at the life of the apostles, their lives and their epistles made great impact, and still make great impact upon the whole world because Christ was first, He was seen first, heard first and known first among all who encountered them.
                We seek a greater walk with Jesus, but when the words “decrease, humble, submit” are spoken to us; we look for a different way out. So many of our struggles, our stale bible reading and lack of Christian joy can be turned around by simply bowing down to the One who gave it all for you. We pray for the Lord to mold us, to shape us and to make us into the women He wants us to be, but when He starts doing it, we fight against it for fear of losing control.
                One of my biggest fears as a Christian has been losing control. I have battled with the Lord for many years now about submission and humility, about letting Him increase and me decrease. I have argued with Him, not allowed Him to take over certain areas of my life because I was afraid of what trial or trouble I may have to face. But is it worth it? Is the life that you are now struggling to live out every day really worth it? What do you have that is so important that you are not willing to let go of it and take the outstretched hands of God, who loves you and gave Himself for you? What are we so afraid of?
                A true Christian walk can be summed up in the words that John the Baptist spoke today- “He must increase and I must decrease.” We must allow Him to have everything and trust that no matter what He takes from us, gives us or doesn’t do for us, we must have confidence in the truth that He loves us. His love is an everlasting love, and His desire is to become so much a part of our lives that we see and hear only Him; that we speak and know only Him, that all that we are is because of Him. How many of us can honestly, before God in heaven, say that we seek to decrease, at any expense, no matter what it takes, we will allow Him to have total and complete control over us, and that He will be the one that increases, He will be the one that is seen and heard first by all who we may encounter?
                I guess the question that I am asking myself and all those few women who may read this little blog of mine- “What is stopping you from letting go and letting God have complete control?” Whatever it is, is it really worth it? We must all at some point “count the cost” and either give it all up or decide to keep some of it ourselves. You are struggling not because God wants you to struggle, but because you are not ready to “count the cost” and dive head first into all that He has for you. Sooner or later, you have to either make the choice to swim to the deep end, or stay on the side with your feet in the shallow end. The choice is ours to make. God calls out to us today to choose to “decrease so that He may increase” in us and through us and for us. May all the glory and honor and praise be to Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come, forever and ever, amen. The choice is yours.