John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
When I first came to the Lord there was much in me that needed correction. There still is error in me that can do better. Somewhere in this life we live in Christ there has to be a turning point where it stops being all about me.
This verse was easy to accept in John’s ministry because John was the forerunner spirit, John made a way for the coming of the Lord. John’s ministry had to stop to allow the focus to be on Jesus’ ministry.
In these days our ministry is Christ in us. For His ministry to continue, we cannot withdraw. We are the chosen vessels of His ministry and it is not as simple and clear as it was for John to decrease.
One of the most difficult things for me to recognize was that turning point where those things that have been corrected in me where no longer weaknesses but strengths. That point is reached when grace is no longer just a thing received but given.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
We do not see that as long as all we see is our need for correction. Correction is needed but it should never be a thing used as an excuse to withhold pouring out grace upon others. Correction is God’s way of setting us free from the bonds of sin that keep grace from flowing out.
Look to Luke 6:38 again. You cannot withhold grace that is overflowing. It is beyond your control to contain. Let it flow thru you, you are not the source, just the vessel.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
I had been struggling for months as to what was being asked of me. I knew but I did not want to face it. Then a Scottish evangelist came and spoke in church one Sunday and I heard the Word of the Lord in his sermon.
“You can stay here and be miserable or you can obey me and leave.”
It was my first call to move on. I met with the pastor and explained myself and what I had heard of the Lord. It was not until years later that I found out that the pastor did not share this information with anyone. He didn’t set up a farewell, he didn’t gather the saints around me to pray over my protection for the next calling in my life. He just let me go, as if I didn’t matter.
Recently I’ve looked around and missed the presence of friends. They are younger than me and I am not in a pastoral position and I have no idea what happened. I called and found out what happened. They too were called to move and were not clear as to what would happen next, only that they feel that they are obeying God.
Then there are the “others” those who feel like they want to move on. They have heavy baggage and no matter our efforts to be loving and gracious, they will not unburden themselves from their baggage. These will sooner or later become burdensome elsewhere, blaming others and claiming not to be loved because we will not help them carry their burdens.
Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
While Jesus was speaking of the scribes and Pharisees the attitudes and behaviors can be found in many who look to us to do for them that which they will not do for themselves. It is their baggage and the source of help is first and foremost the Lord. How can any of us expect help from another if we refuse to take it first to the Lord?
Psalm 23:1-2 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He, the Lord, does that.