Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Putting Self On A Shelf

JOHN 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease.”

THEME OF THE DAY: PUTTING SELF ON A SHELF.  Today’s scripture was the testimony of John the Baptist. The “He” was the Lord Jesus. The “I” was the Baptist. But this is not to be restricted to him. Yes, it is history.  Yes, it was his own testimony. Yes, it was his privilege to make much of the Lamb of God and little of himself. However, it is a shared privilege. We, too, exist to make much of Jesus.  In a very real way, the testimony of John the Baptist is to be our daily marching order. We are to strive in every relationship, every encounter with people, every circumstance, every trial, and every situation in life to make much of the Lord Jesus and nothing of us. And this is not easy. It challenges our fallen flesh and our bent to selfish living, yet, it is achievable because of God’s Spirit in us and God’s Word to guide us.

So, it we want to put self on a shelf and know the joy of living the selfless life as modeled by the Lord Jesus, here are three steps of application.

First, if we are to see Christ increase, and we decrease in daily living, we must understand this is exactly what the Christian life is all about.  The Apostle Paul made this clear statement about himself that we are to apply to our lives – For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). To put self on the shelf, learn to see that is a call to die; a call to death to things of the world that fuel our selfishness, and prevent a Christ-centered life from being developed. And this begins in our mind.  We must know what Christianity truly is – the call to make Christ increase, and us, decrease.

Next to see Christ increase and us decrease, we must apply by faith the truth of our union in Christ in His death and resurrection.  Herein lies the power to kill self and actually see Christ rule in our hearts – We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:4-6).  Always strive to see our inseparable union with Jesus. It will help us apply the power of His resurrection to put self on a shelf.

Finally, to live the Christ-centered life that replaces self-interests with His interests and thus see Him increase and us decrease, think often of Christ’s sufferings.  A cold, icy, selfish heart is melted at the pondering of Christ’s sufferings. When we survey His wonderous cross, and linger long at His feet, seeing by faith the suffering Savior, a transformation takes place.  We want Him to increase, and us decrease.  And the want to put self on a shelf will become daily practice.

He must increase, I must decrease.  So went the life of John the Baptist, and so must ours! It is the Christian life.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to make much of Jesus and nothing of myself.”

QUOTE: “The Christian seeks to find self-interests being replaced with Christ’s interests.”

In the affection of Christ Jesus,

Pastor Jim