Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
By this time, you might have broken your New Year’s resolution. But fear not, tomorrow is Monday when the new year really begins, and you can recommit.
In addition to whatever behavior you have committed yourself to do or not do, this study suggests an all-encompassing, life-changing resolution of thought and attitude.
We begin with the backstory; that is the lesson.
About 10 days ago, and without any warm-up, husband David announced, “I must decrease, while He increases” was his new guiding-life principle. (Not your typical Adams family Tuesday night dinner conversation.)
Since David is a godly man, I knew “He” referred to the Lord. My immediate response was, “Is that from the Bible?” Surprisingly, David, as a devoted reader of Scripture, said, “I don’t know. The words just popped into my mind.”
The phrase sounded vaguely familiar to me and could have been from some bestselling self-help book. Although David had the passage reversed, Mr. Google told us it was from the most famous bestselling self-help book of all time — the Bible — in the New Testament Gospel of John 3:30.
After David explained why he was embracing the verse, I thanked him for providing my next Bible study topic — perfectly suited as a new year’s resolution for everyone. He said:
“As I age, my mortality becomes more evident. While getting closer to meeting the Lord, I want to prepare myself, and one way to do that is to emphasize to Him that He is in charge. That is not how it has been most of my life, and now I want to make a new commitment to Him. Also, at this time, my ego is more under control than it was when I was in the midst of a highly competitive career when promoting oneself (directly or indirectly) was important for advancement.”
My husband’s new commitment to “He must increase, but I must decrease” when translated into universal wisdom means: “Trust the Lord.” The entire concept is recorded in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) book of Proverbs:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Got that? I suggest taping it to your refrigerator.
Now, let’s further examine “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The speaker was John the Baptist. His dialogue, before and after, is found in John 3:25-36.
To briefly summarize, John was addressing an unnamed man. After John baptized Jesus, the man confronted John about how his importance was now diminished, saying, "Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!" (John 3:26).
John responded, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him’” (John 3:28).
Then, John proclaims, “Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29-30).
John is joyful, acknowledging his subordination to Jesus. And that is our lesson to learn.
This year, let’s all embrace this mature and challenging way of thinking. No matter your age, the stage you play on, financial circumstances, or station in life — be bold — step out in faith and proclaim, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” Internalize and embrace the concept! Over time, don’t be surprised if you excel even more by diminishing yourself to the glory of Christ Jesus and through faith in Him.
Amen, Hallelujah, and Happy New Year!
Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.