Saturday, January 9, 2010

He Must Increase...

He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30).

What is spiritual growth? What is spiritual maturity? What is it to go on in the Lord? I fear we have got mixed ideas about this. Many think that spiritual maturity is a more comprehensive knowledge of Christian doctrine, a larger grasp of scriptural truth, a wider expanse of the knowledge of the things of God; and many such features are recorded as marks of growth, development, spiritual maturity. Beloved, it is nothing of the kind.

The hallmark of true spiritual development and maturity is this, that we have grown so much less and the Lord Jesus has grown so much more. The mature soul is one who is small in his or her own eyes, but in whose eyes the Lord Jesus is great. That is growth. We may know a very great deal, have a wonderful grasp of doctrine, of teaching, of truth, even of the Scriptures, and yet be spiritually very small, very immature, very childish. (There is all the difference between being childish and child-like.) Real spiritual growth is just this: I decrease, He increases. It is the Lord Jesus becoming more. You can test spiritual growth by that."

The Cross and the Way of Life - Chapter 4 by T. Austin Sparks

The above has got me to thinking....I agree with it, yet it leaves me wondering...Can we have spiritual growth without scriptural knowledge of Jesus Christ? No, I don't think we can. Yet in our seeking out the truth of who He is, we can make that intellectual understanding our pursuit instead of knowing the Person of Jesus. It may take only a little head knowledge of Christ to give great heart growth, while a mind filled with facts can sometimes block the way to the heart.

Remember when you were first saved? How much did you know "about" Him then? Not much, if you were like me. But that little that I did know made Him so huge in my heart. He was all that I thought about. My love for Him sprang up into a beautiful tree, from such a small seed of understanding. And then again, there were times in my walk that I have let chasing after understanding of truth eclipse that simple, child-like wonder and trust that I had in Him. Like all things, I guess it is something that has to be constantly checked, and kept in a balance. The bottom line for me is, I wouldn't trade what I know of Him experientially for all the intellectual understanding of Him in the world.


Walking Church said...

Great Post!

Ah yes...Sparks...the trouble with Sparks...get into trouble every time!!!

Kat Garrett said...

Beautiful, Maureen :).

I love hearing your thoughts...:) I will always think of you when I read that verse from now on :). What you said is so true.

I don't have a lot of internet time these days, but just wanted to say hello :). I hope you are doing well, my kindred spirit up in Canada! :) Hope you are staying warm...i have LAYERS of sweatshirts's been 17 degrees down here in MS! :P but i love it...i can stay indoors and hibernate LOL!!!! :P


Ruth said...

HI Maureen, how are things in Blogland going ? Good to see you are still at it! The idea of measuring spiritual growth seems something that many Christians are interested in, particularily when it comes to measuring another's growth. He is the only One who truly understands and knows us, and certainly far better than anyone else. We may think we know alot about someone but isn't it wonderful to realize we don't know much at all, only He does. I read a wonderful quote the other day that man is really only able to relay knowledge and information. It's the Spirit who truly imparts revelation and light, regardless of the source. hugggs this is my first trip to blogland in months, not sure what on earth to do about my blog anymore, it's totally neglected !

Anonymous said...

The lives of great men and women in God's Kingdom are marked by humble service. They never seek to be lifted up to a prominent place. They served God sacrificially, with a heart of humility. This is what I see in Maureen....this what I need.

Maureen said...

WC, I really appreciate Sparks. He has such a zeal for Jesus Christ. I love reading his stuff.

Maureen said...

Kat I hope your weather gets back to normal soon. (What ever happened to global warming??????)

Maureen said...

Yes it's true Ruth, He alone knows our heart. And it's a wonderful thing to not care what others think of your "growth", and just follow Him with all your heart.

I miss your blog! Better get posting again girl!

Maureen said...

Anon, I know that when we get to heaven we will be amazed at what God has done through our puny lives and efforts. All to His glory! His strength gets shown in our weaknesses. From 1Corinthians:

"26For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

27but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

28and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29so that no man may boast before God."

Angela said...

yet be spiritually very small, very immature, very childish.

this is what spoke to me...In Ephesians 4 it states, to grow up in all things in Christ Jesus. This last year and half I can truly say I have finally 'grown up', no longer the two year old throwing her temper tantrums because things were not going my way...(now I'm an adult woman working on controlling her mouth and tongue,,but I'm an adult now and not that two year old in an adult body,.lol)...

Awesome post..I LOVE LOVE He must increase, I must decrease. These words are not very far from my heart throughout the week.

Angela said...

Just stopping by to say hello to another Canadian in blog land..noticed you were from Canada too. ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

“In humility count others more significant than yourselves. . . . He made himself nothing.” Philippians 2:3, 7

How does community work? By love? Well, okay. But that isn’t Paul’s point in these verses, which are all about how community works. And we can do horrible things in the name of love. We can walk into a social situation with love as our purpose only to destroy that situation by our clueless good intentions.

The key word is humility in verse 3. The measure of humility is the word nothing in verse 7.

“He made himself nothing.” That is threatening to us, but it has this advantage. It works. When we make ourselves nothing, willing to wash each other’s feet even while being scrutinized for our performance....... we are becoming what proud human touchiness cannot resist. Heart-level connections form when people can see, “He isn’t out for himself.” And community starts to work.

Let’s not trust our love. It can be self-exalting. Let’s become nothing, as the Son of God did. He knows what works!