I Must Decrease (John 7:18)

“He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” (John 7:18)

A few weeks back I asked my 10-year old daughter to pray over me, as I was leading our church’s worship team to prepare for Christmas Service. Out of all of the wonderful things she prayed for, one of the things I remember vividly is when she said, “God, prepare Daddy’s heart so that he isn’t doing this to impress anyone, but that he is only doing this to worship You.”

During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus addresses the crowd and teaches them that whoever does God’s will, will know the truth. The Pharisees knew the Law, but didn’t actually worship God. They were vehemently opposed to Jesus and his teachings, although his teachings were in accordance to both Scripture and the new revelation God was bringing through Him. Their hardened hearts were so consumed in gaining honor and glory for themselves, that they couldn’t see the truth that Jesus was the awaited Messiah.

As I evaluate my own heart and motives, I want to make sure that whatever I do, I’m doing it for the glory of God, and God alone. That’s one of the reasons I loved that Spirit-led prayer from my daughter. At this point, I’d rather step down from ministry completely, than do ministry (or anything else in my life) without the Spirit’s leading, wisdom, or power.

As we get comfortable doing things, it’s easy to start relying on our own abilities and leaving God on the sidelines; but humility and full dependency on the Lord are critical to a Christian’s spiritual walk. I believe that the moment we rely on our own strength rather than God’s, is the moment when God takes a step back and leaves the results up to us. And as I’ve experienced in my own life, the results aren’t pretty when I do anything without the Lord’s direction and blessing. Only when we trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, will He make our paths straight (Prov. 3:5-6).

In John 5:30, Jesus gives us the perfect example of humble obedience to the Father: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

God has blessed every single one of us with many gifts, talents, and resources; not that we would use them to elevate ourselves, but rather that we would elevate Christ.

As my daughter prayed, may God transform our hearts so that we aren’t doing anything for the approval or honor of man, but that we are doing everything as an act of worship, for the sake and glory of His Name.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

[From January 7, 2019]

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