“He must increase but I must decrease.”
This verse defines the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ in a brief seven words. We as believers want the presence and knowledge of Christ to increase in the world, while experiencing more of Christ in our own walks and lives. To do this, increase Christ, we must decrease. The word for decrease is in the passive voice, meaning that we are not the ones doing the action of decreasing. We are receiving the action, being done by another. Christ does both actions: increasing himself by decreasing us.
In our lives, Christ is actively making us more like himself. He takes areas of life that do not grow from experience of him and moves them out. As this happens we begin to take on the appearance of Christ and the world is confronted with this image of Christ in his people.
John3Thirty.net is dedicated to teaching the Word of God and encouraging the reader to submit to and recognize the work of Christ in their life. You will see at various times the use of the word ‘radical.’
Rad”i*cal\, a. [F., fr. L. radicalis having roots, fr. radix, -icis, a root. See Radix.]
1. Of or pertaining to the root; proceeding directly from the root.*1
We long for a Radical Church, a Radical Life and a Radical Church—all growing directly from the root of Jesus Christ.
One day a woman visiting our home decided to turn around in the driveway rather than backing out. As a result she ran over a tree in our yard—one of two trees the previous resident had planted but hadn’t taken care of. It had been looking bad and I had wondered what to do with it. After she was done I figured the issue was settled, since she broke it off at ground level, and made plans to dig the root ball out and plant another tree there.
To my surprise the tree was still alive and shot up several branches. After they were about three feet tall, I cut away all but the straightest. For the next two summers I cut off other branches growing from the root and only left those growing off the new main trunk. Before long I had a beautiful straight tree, with well pruned branches where there had once been an ugly stunted mass.
The Lord taught me something from this. The Christian life grows from Christ, but sometimes other ugly branches are allowed to grow until the life we live, the faith we profess and the church we embrace look nothing like what was originally planted. When this happens radical surgery is needed.
What will the Christian life, the Christian faith and the Christian Church look like once all the ugly, unscriptural accretions are removed? The Lord wants his Church and the life we live to grow directly from him. This website and the teaching in it is dedicated to those who need a bit of pruning—myself included. Join me in submitting to the Lord and his Word; allowing the master gardener to shape and prune us into his image.
* “radical.” Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 31 Dec. 2008.