Decrease (Verb): signifies “to make less or inferior, in quality, position or dignity;” “madest… lower” and “hast made… lower.” It is used in the Middle Voice, in John the Baptist’s “I must decrease,” indicating the special interest he had in his own “decrease,” i.e., in authority and popularity.
Lower (Adjective, and Verb, to Make), Lowest: denotes “to make less” (elatton, “less”), and is used in the Active Voice, “Thou madest (Him)… lower,” and in the Passive, “was made… lower,” “(I must) decrease,” (lit., “be made less”).
- to make less or inferior: in dignity
- to be made less or inferior: in dignity
- to decrease in authority or popularity
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Who do I think I am? ~ Am I an important person, or do I think I am? Am I desiring or needing praise for things I do, how I act, what I look like or do not look like? Do I look for attention from those around me? Do I need to be the center of attraction? I can answer, “No” to some of those questions but certainly not all.
God sees me for who I am. He sees who I am becoming. He desires to see more and more of Christ in me. When I am in the world, I am not to be of it…only in it. The light of Christ should be emanating from me, reflecting Him to the world. There is work to be done. It is not about me giving things up in order to decrease or be less of me. It is about me being obedient to the One Who created me. There will be humbling, teaching, guiding, and more obedience. God calls for my heart and spirit to be His. In order to come to Him, my spirit needs to be broken and contrite (crushed) so that I may be made new.
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17
And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. Deuteronomy 8:2-6
Yes, decreasing is not something I can or will do alone. I must depend upon the One Who will be increasing to help me. I will need discipline for my ego will mostly likely get in the way. Things of this world will get in the way. I think of Alice in Wonderland shrinking to go down the rabbit hole. I cannot know exactly where I am going but I actually want to go there. There will be testing, and hunger, and fear, yet I will have the arms of the Lord wrapped around me when I trust Him. He will be with me, will be providing the manna all along the way. He will be quenching my thirst. He will be keeping my feet from swelling on this journey. Worry should not be anything for me when I trust Him to hold me near as He guides me. Yes, I must take one step at a time in a forward motion towards “decrease.” That is my goal. I will need to learn more about humbling, being obedient, reading the Word more regularly, being in prayer consistently, knowing that He will hear me no matter how small I become.
from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John: He (John) owns it highly fit and necessary that the reputation and interest of Christ should be advanced, and his own diminished (:30): He must increase, but I must decrease. If they grieve at the growing greatness of the Lord Jesus, they will have more and more occasion to grieve, as those have that indulge themselves in envy and emulation. John speaks of Christ’s increase and his own decrease, not only as necessary and unavoidable, which could not be helped and therefore must be borne, but as highly just and agreeable, and affording him entire satisfaction.
- [1.] He was well pleased to see the kingdom of Christ getting ground: He must increase. You think he has gained a great deal, but it is nothing to what he will gain.’ Note, The kingdom of Christ is, and will be, a growing kingdom, like the light of the morning, like the grain of mustard-seed.
- [2.] He was not at all displeased that the effect of this was the diminishing of his own interest: I must decrease. Created excellencies are under this law, they must decrease. I have seen an end of all perfection. Note,
- First, The shining forth of the glory of Christ eclipses the lustre of all other glory. The glory that stands in competition with Christ, that of the world and the flesh, decreases and loses ground in the soul as the knowledge and love of Christ increase and get ground; but it is here spoken of that which is subservient to him. As the light of the morning increases, that of the morning star decreases.
- Secondly, If our diminution or abasement may but in the least contribute to the advancement of Christ’s name, we must cheerfully submit to it, and be content to be any thing, to be nothing, so that Christ may be all.
Father God, Mr. Henry says what I have tried to say so very eloquently. I want to be a light in this dark world. I want to shine in order that others might see the light of Jesus the Christ in and through me. Show me Your way, O Lord. Show me Your way. Teach me what it is to “decrease” so that Christ may “increase” … to be all that others see when they are with me in the physical sense. I bow before You and ask Your forgiveness for the times that I will be disobedient, not be humble nor teachable, nor revere You as You so deserve. Show me the way. Help me to learn from the tests and lessons taught, the struggles and sufferings which I will face. Help me to see Your gifts. I desire to be all who You want me to be. I need You, O Lord. Thank You, now. In the blessed Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Psalm 51:17 graphic: by Phil Ware & Heartlight @ https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/psalm/4/
Deuteronomy 8:2 graphic: https://livingwordofgod.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/deuteronomy-8-remember-the-lord-your-god/
Quotes: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on John
Both photos of weaving with graphics: the weaving, photo and graphics created by Linda Gill