Increase Your Decrease

”Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to fight against my will.”’  Acts 26:14 (NLT) 1242968_puppet_2

   This hit me like a ton of bricks (which hurts by the way).  Whose way am I following?  Am I like Saul?  Am I unknowingly fighting against God and His will or am I working with God?Saul was a priest, and a devout one.  He truly thought persecuting the early Christians was the right thing to do.  He believed in the cause.  He rallied to his holy crusade.  The problem was he was wrong.  He was WAY off the course God wanted him to take.  But God stepped in and knocked him to the dirt and asked him, “Saul, hey Saul!  What are you doing?  Why are doing the exact opposite of what I want?  You are actually persecuting me.  It is tough to fight against me and serve me at the same time.”

So this begs the question, what am I bringing into my relationship with God that is in reality going against His will?  What attitudes, preconceived notions and great ideas do I have that would make God tell me, “It’s hard to fight against My will Shawn.”  When I read the Bible, what context am I reading with?  My American upbringing or am I trying to read it through the eyes and mind of God?  What type of prayer am I praying?  Is it in humble supplication to God or is it full of “I wants” and “I needs”?  What great ideas do I have to change the world for Jesus?  Are they really His will or are they my selfish desires to make my ego grow? 

John, the cousin of Jesus, said in John 3:30 that “I must decrease so that He (Jesus) can increase.” 

This is my prayer,

“Dad, I MUST decrease, it must become less about me.  I must decrease, it must become less about what I want.  I must decrease, it must become less of my ideas.  I must decrease, so that You can increase.  Amen.”

Increase your decrease so that He may increase in your life!


It’s all about Him,

Shawn

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My So Called Life

One of the passages in the Bible that I love is Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” To live is Christ, to die is gain. Here is what I think that means for me today.

Live As Christ

To live is Christ. I think we have to ask and answer a question to understand this. How did Christ live? Well, as I read through what we call the Gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which are eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus, I see the following things about Jesus.

  • He Gave- of His time, resources and life
  • He Loved- freely and unconditionally
  • He Served- anyone and everyone
  • He Sacrificed- His life
  • He Suffered- ridicule, scorn and treachery
  • He Died- on the cross for my sins and yours

You know I have a hard time with the “Prosperity Preachers” that constantly tell people that Jesus wants them to have the best material possessions in life i.e… a fancy, expensive car, a brand new mansion, success in business etc… As I read through the Bible I see a Jesus who had no permanent home, no money, few clothes and no chariot (car). As a matter-of-fact He had to borrow a donkey from a guy to ride in to town on one occasion. I see a Jesus not concerned with material wealth but spiritual wealth. A Jesus focused on the person not on personal wealth.

Don’t mis-understand, I am not telling you to sell everything and give it to the poor and live in a cardboard box, unless God does, in that case you had better do it. What I am saying is that we as humans have become focused on something other than God, money. A verse that often gets mis-quoted is 1 Timothy 6:10. Most people quote it this way, “Money is the root of all sin.” That is not what it says, here is what it actually says- “For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” It is the love of money, doing whatever it takes to acquire it, going to any lengths to make more of it, taking your focus off God and putting it on stuff, that is the root of all kinds of evil.

There are two things that people horde, their money and their time. Jesus had little of both but gave them freely to those in need. If Jesus is the ideal Christian and we are supposed to be following Him and imitating Him, shouldn’t we be doing the same. Shouldn’t we give everything? Shouldn’t we love freely? Shouldn’t we serve all others? Shouldn’t we sacrifice ourselves? Shouldn’t we expect to suffer from time to time? Shouldn’t we die to ourselves and live for Christ? Do you know what all of these acts have in common? Less focus on SELF and more focus on JESUS and OTHERS. John, the man that announced that Jesus was coming, when asked if he was upset about Jesus stealing his limelight said “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30.

Remember- JOY=

Jesus first,

Others second,

Yourself last.

Tomorrow- To die is gain!