The Grand Paradox
He must become greater; I must become less. Jn. 3:30
The bottom line in our spiritual journey to become more like Jesus requires that we also become less like our old selves. And in the less is more of our life in Christ, we are becoming more humble, more yielded, more reliant, more trusting, more surrendered . . . more “dead” to ourselves so that we may be more fully alive to Christ.
We no longer shrink back from what we see in ourselves – futility, wickedness, weakness and pride. It’s true – we are all those things and more. But we are also becoming freer to embrace our utter dependency on Christ. For all things.
Let’s face it, the paradox of the Christian life makes no earthly sense. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord says, “for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Am I to boast in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest more fully in me? How does the increase of one thing (Jesus’ life in us) result in the decrease of the other (myself)?
“If you try to hang on to your life,” Jesus explains, “you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”
In other words, if you have thought you might be able to keep your life intact and have Christ too, maybe it’s time to think again. These verses are hard to get a hold of. The flesh rises up and says, Wait a minute… how does this work? Surely, it can’t be all that bad!
O, but it is. And if you don’t get a hold of this truth, it will get a hold of you.
As our love and capacity for Jesus grows, self-love yields its hard-fought turf to the greater mystery of “Christ in us.”
This new and “greater” ground is both gained and relinquished. Capacity for Christ or tenacity for self-love and indulgence? This is a turf war of epic proportions.
Although pride will do everything it can to hold its ground, ultimately the flesh must concede to the greater love of the Spirit. This is the essence of humility
More of Him and less of us. In that order. We don’t start by trying to be less; we start by increasing the space we give to God.
How has this paradox played out in your own life?
What changes do you see over time in your capacity for Christ?
Where do you see obstacles to receiving the “more of Jesus?