For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:2-3
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 11:15
Isaiah prophesied about Jesus Who seems to resemble very little of interest to us in the world then. Yet, by the time God reveals Jesus to John (the Book of Revelation), Jesus is everything. Interesting to me is that during those thirty-three years that Jesus walked this earth, He was the One Who was sent to save us all. He healed; He taught; He prayed. He became so much to so many in actually three years of His thirty-three. And He is All to all if we would only seek His face. He came with the answers to all of our needs and concerns. Oh, that it took me forty-five of my seventy-four years to desire Him as my Lord and Savior. I sought one such as the Israelites were seeking: the king, the rider upon a horse to rule and reign, their Messiah. Most missed Him then as I did for so many years. My seeking was longer than Jesus’ lifetime. Yet, I praise Him NOW and for always for He is worthy of all praise.
In this final month of 2021, I am reminding myself of the word I chose to ponder upon for this year. My writings have been sporadic yet the word never departed from my lips, nor my mind.
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
I have chosen to be less of me so that He can be more of who others see in me. I do not want my family nor friends or strangers passing by to see this Linda of the world. I want less of the world in me and more of Jesus to shine upon these others.
Oh, that this may continue to be so.
This has not been an easy year by any means. So much has been about me: selling a home, moving to another state, establishing a new place to live, reacquainting with my cousin, Donna. All amidst COVID-19. Yet my desire has been to decrease despite all of this.
Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you bore witness—look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him.”
John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’ The One who has the bride is the Bridegroom. The friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.
¶He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony. Whoever receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For He Whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:25-36
Jesus calls us to new heights as we decrease. Oh, YES, He does.
Upon taking a break while writing this, I picked up John Pavlovitz’s Advent Devotional, “Low.” This very day, Week 3/Monday, the title is “The Lowest Places.” God has orchestrated such wonder in my heart, mind, and soul. Here is a piece of this day’s devotional:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
“…. Jesus has a way of stretching us. Over and over again in the gospels, the message he has for those who would emulate him in the world, is, in essence, “I want to show you something new. Whatever standard you once used for how to live and treat people and find meaning, I’m asking you for more–(or rather, for less).” Regarding anger or motive or religion or revenge or comfort, he continually invites us to the low places: to a greater humility, to a deeper forgiveness, to a shrinking ego, to a bigger generosity. We almost always resist such things because initially they feel like loss, like we’re giving up too much, like we’re letting someone else get away with something. But we always find a better version of ourselves in the low places and that is why we need to keep going there.” *
Father, I am humbled by Your love and Your guidance in and through my life. This 2021 word has resonated more with me than most. It has, indeed, stretched me and rocked me as well. It has allowed me to grow closer to You for which I am filled with gratitude. How could that be when the worldly Linda wants the opposite? But this woman, headed Heavenward, wants to draw near to You more than anything, Lord. I desire to pursue You and be diligent about it in this coming year. I want to be steadfast in my ways of searching You in Your Word. Thank You, Father, for being my God. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I humbly pray. Amen.
As the year comes to an end, 2022 is just beyond that corner. Those of us joining with Lisa @ Lisa Notes, we are announcing our new word for this new year. For many of us, this one word replaces New Year’s Resolutions. I am finding that it plus the community accountability has really helped me focus on what God has in store for me over each year via this One Word study/challenge. May God grant us each and all a willingness to persevere, be challenged, and be grown as we study, pray and meditate upon this new word.
One Word 2022 and ‘decrease’ graphics: by ~ linda @ BeingWoven.org
* Pavlovitz, John, “Low, An Honest Advent Devotional,” ChalicePress.com, 2019, 9780827221932. JohnPavlovitz.com
John 3:30 Greater Than @ Pinterest