So did this title catch you a little off guard? Most of us are looking for a year of increase, not decrease. We’re wanting growth, both in the spiritual and in the natural realm (and usually financially). But as all things are in God, the order is always backwards.
These are spiritual laws. To be first, we’re to be last. (Matt 19:30; 20:16) To be great, we’re to be the least. (Luke 9:48) To receive, we must give. (Luke 6:48) To increase, we must decrease. (John 3:30) So if we’re wanting an increase in finances, or favor, or recognition, then we have to decrease to get it. But how?
Here are a few tips:
- If we’re having a conversation with someone, try to never bring up your side or story. Always listen to theirs. Don’t be looking for a space to interject your thoughts, and be content even if you don’t get to share at all.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself. If someone praises you for a job well done, simply thank them. Period. No elaborate story of how it all happened; not even an “all the glory goes to God” story is necessary either. Judson Cornwall once taught to receive praise as a bouquet of flowers, then offer them up to the Lord privately later on.
- There’s a difference of using your talents and flaunting them. Let us always be conscience of the Giver of gifts more than the gifts themselves.
- Be careful of pity-party stories of how you’re struggling with things, especially in group settings. This can be a way of manipulating for attention. Rather than this, simply share your problems with a trusted friend or accountability partner who can pray with you.
Some of us, at least us women, have a tendency to get on this “my day was worse than yours” tangent, where we have to list all the incredibly difficult things that happened that day at work, with our kids, etc. First someone mentions a hard obstacle they had to deal with (or are having to deal with), then we like to put in our own “that’s nothing to what I had to go through” spiel to one-up them. What are we doing when we do this? We’re looking for attention, recognition. We’re looking to increase in some way.
Everyone likes to be acknowledged and recognized for their abilities and capabilities, this is human nature. And I, too, have done every one of these things above to increase myself in some way. (That’s how I know about them.) However, my challenge to you is this – can you be content if you’re not validated or appreciated? Does your increasing have to come from man?
For true increase to come from God, we must decrease before men. Willingly.
The order is reversed.
Let this year be a year of decrease for all of us.
(I also highly recommend reading Andrew Murray’s little book, Humility. It’s a great way to start off the year.)