Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He Must Increase (Part 2)

Depiction of Increase and Decrease

In my last post, I mentioned that John the Baptist said this concerning Jesus:

A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven…I am not the Christ…He must increase, but I must decrease.1

If I am to truly discover the blessings of God in my life, Christ must increase in me, while I simultaneously decrease.

I also stated that, “God empowers me with the ability to think and act by humbling myself in His presence. I do this by recognizing that, I’m always in God’s presence.

I think the difficulty I face in humbling myself is that I lose sight of God’s presence; I forget where I am. Spiritually, I am always aware of God’s presence, but in my mind and body, I tend to be more consciously aware of myself than God.

How then can I be more consciously aware of God’s presence in my mind and body?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.2

Here Paul emphasizes the Greek word peripateo (per-ee-pat-eh’-o) which means, to tread all around, i.e. walk at large (especially as proof of ability); figuratively to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion or votary):--go, be occupied with, walk (about).

In essence, I am to demonstrate in my daily life evidence that I have the ability to recognize I am continually in God’s presence, spiritually, intellectually and bodily. I have been made alive through Christ, for that very purpose; to walk by the Spirit.

All my life, my focus has been on me; what’s good for me, what I want, what I desire, what I seek for myself. This new life in Christ enables me to see what I was unable to in the past; Jesus Christ.

...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…3

By faith, I’m empowered to focus my attention on Jesus, dedicating my life to Him in humble service. In the beginning, I find it most difficult to focus on Jesus, because my mind and body both seek gratification, demanding attention before God’s presence. Over time, my walk produces greater focus on Christ, training my mind and body to be silent before God’s presence.

How will I know I’m truly walking by the Spirit?

I will know because fruit will be produced in my life through my spiritual walk. The bible says,

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are naturally produced by the Spirit.

The purpose of the fruit of the Spirit is to replace the deeds my mind and body produce. As the life of Christ increases in me, those deeds which I previously committed so frequently, become less and less influential and desirable in my life.

I see now that God uses this Spiritual fruit as a source of spiritual food to nourish my spirit. Just as God used manna to sustain the Jews who wandered in the desert for forty years, He sustains me with the fruit of the Spirit. As I taste and see that the Lord is good, I find that I want more of Him in me: more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness and more self-control.

The key then is humility.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time…4

God is looking for those who will humble themselves in His presence. In doing so, I acknowledge that the presence of God, has become the constant in my life. If you’re looking for God to do something, He has! We have new life through Jesus Christ, guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit produced in our life.

Now it’s up to you to humble yourself in the presence of God, focus your attention on Jesus Christ, walk in the Spirit, and allow the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in you. Taste and see just how good God is.

Father God,

How wonderful it is to taste and see that the Lord is good. I am in your presence Father; never am I hidden from You. I choose to commit my life in humility right now. I choose to walk in the Spirit; I am no longer led by the carnal thoughts, desires and need for gratification. Every moment of my life will be an opportunity to witness the fruit of the Spirit manifest itself in me. I thank You Father for Your Fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I rejoice Father that I am prepared to live my life humbly before You by Your love and grace. Amen.


Footnotes:
  1. John 3:27-28; 30, NASB
  2. Galatians 5:16, NASB
  3. Hebrews 12:3, NASB
  4. 1 Peter 5:6, NASB
References:
  1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
  2. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6


15 comments:

Faith Imagined said...

The world doesn't think highly of humility so it can be difficult to grasp the importance of it. You have illustrated some awesome insights into how powerful humility can be.

Judy said...

Hi,

So true that we must decrease and let Christ increase in us and walk in humility before him. We are always in God's presence but sometimes we forget and we say and do things we shouldn't, which isn't good. But if we trust Him to do the work in us that needs to be done, relying on Him and not on ourselves, we will be ok.

Blessings,
Judy

Stuff could always be worse said...

Do love your image, of us decreasing. Humility is not talked about enough. Thanks
kim

THE OLD GEEZER said...

MTJ, You are so right. God produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Where a lot of Christians go wrong is they think they are the one who produces fruit by their good works. NOT SO!

Wanda said...

Appreciate you sharing all that you're learning on this often unpopular topic. As we stay connecting to the vine, we can't help but produce God-like fruit which is evidenced in our everyday lives.

Sharon Kirby said...

MTJ - I am so blessed! Thank you for these thoughts. I loved this line: "Over time, my walk produces greater focus on Christ, training my mind and body to be silent before God’s presence."

I wish I could tell you how hard it is for me to have a silent MIND. And as I get older, I find the BODY has aches and pains that keep chattering away, too. You have shown me that greater focus on Christ is something we must INTENTIONALLY seek out - we need to TRAIN ourselves to humbly seek Him.

But, OH THE REWARDS!!! Daily bread, and living water - perfect fulfillment of our spiritual hunger and thirst!

GOD BLESS, friend!

Nicole said...

Hi there MTJ! =)

I love your post for today!! So many great points and verses!
I love these,

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."

It is so much easier this time around for me to remember that God is in me! He is there all the time! I don't always do the right things but I am doing a lot better than I used to! =)

also loved this one of course I am still working on the patience and self-control part

"Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are naturally produced by the Spirit."

How great that you had that in here today. A wonderful reminder! That's kinda why I did mine yesterday. I need to put it on the fridge!!

Thank you also for your wonderful prayer! In a way we are praying together and you know what happens when 2 or more agree and come together!!

God Bless you MTJ!! and your beautiful wife!

sarah said...

I always feel like superman and kryptonite. Whenever I'm far away from Him I have no power...I feel weak....hopeless....worthless. Only when I'm close to Him do I feel that strength that I can do anything...be anything...accomplish anything. Great post MTJ...your faith...inspires me...everytime. ☺☺☺

Nicole said...

Hey there MTJ!

Just thought I would drop by and say I hope you have a great weekend!

God bless ya!

Ian Curtis said...

I was just having this discussion with my sister last night. Its so easy to shift from walking in the Spirit to walking in the flesh. I have done this more times than I would care to admit. Its like when you want to be right for the sake of being right; concern for the person in error isn't even present. If we try to produce godliness by our own effort our focus is backward, to say the least. It is Christ through the Spirit producing fruit in us, or it is us producing nothing beneficial at all. I ramble... God's blessings, my friend. Ian.

Renee said...

Thank you for a very insightful post for us to read and learn from...God bless you.

From The Heart Online said...

Boy, I needed to read this!

I stumble on pride, and am searching for 'HOW' to choose humility. You've pointed out some of the 'how'.

Fix my eyes on Christ
Feast on the fruits of the Spirit
Pray as though I've already received it.

Thank you for this encouragement. I will work towards humbling myself before God, and living that way until Jesus returns. :)

Peggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy said...

Blessings MTJ... aMazing to read as you write your profound thoughts not only on humility but on the fruit of His Spirit.

So much to ponder, so I read and reread...and I truly love this:
"God is looking for those who will humble themselves in His presence..."

I also was blessed by the comparison of Him sustaining us through the fruit of the Spirit as He provided Manna to the Jews in their wanderings!

Ohhh how I so agree how good is the Lord and to taste and see that the Lord is so good!!! Beautiful heartfelt prayer... you have just a gift in expressing yourself through writing out your prayers and sharing your journey as you process your thoughts so honestly! God is so good... and we must choose to walk in the Spirit and humility as we learn to be productive in His fruit. By abiding in Him and He in us, the vine gives us the Life we need and He is Our Living Water!

Thank you once again for an outstanding post! I'll keep working on walking humbly but I'm sure as more fruit is evident in me, there will be less of me and so much more of Him...

Peace,
Peggy

Peggy said...

Hi MTJ and many blessings...

I saw this today and thought of YOU and this great post... so I thought I should pass it on:
Think Hard, Stay Humble

You see that...you're thought filled journey is right up there with other greats, that definitely means it came from GOD!

EnJOY!
Peggy