For this last post in our series, we’re going to keep things simple. How simple? We’re going to look at a few words found in John’s gospel. Two words specifically; increase and decrease. But first…
As we look back on the everything we talked about the last several weeks we noticed that there was a bit of a buzz around this series. It seemed to have struck a chord. I guess when you look at the themes and topics, it makes sense. We talked about our time, our money, our relationships, fear, peace, seasons, and discernment. These are ‘rubber meets the road’ kinds of things. Very practical and helpful right? Who doesn’t want to be better with their time and money and relationships? Who doesn’t want peace? Who doesn’t want to feel like they have the wisdom to make the right decisions as seasons of life change?
Let’s remember why we embarked on this journey of decluttering and in turn simplifying our lives – because we want to better hear God’s whisper in our lives. The noise can get out of hand, and God’s voice can get quite faint. Let’s take these lessons to heart and begin to be more attentive to God’s leading in all the area’s we talked about.
The need to declutter comes when things pile up, when life gets disorganize, and when the mountain of things we think we have to do topples over. Of course we can look at our garages, basements, homes, and cars as examples of the disorder or the clutter. However, there’s one place we can look that really shows how unnecessarily busy our lives are – our hearts. It’s in our heart where the real evidence is. That’s why the writer of Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of your life” (4:23) Jesus even said that it’s from our hearts that our mouths speak. What’s inside is indicative of what’s coming out. So be careful what you let in.
And this leads us to John 3:30. At this point in the gospel story John the Baptist has completed his role, or he at least he thought so. Some of his friends are confused as to why Jesus is now getting the credit that was once John’s. But John knew his role and was full of joy that Jesus has arrived on the scene. John was always the pointer to Jesus, not the main actor; he was always just the appetizer, not the main dish, he was only the dating service, not the groom. So when we hear his words about Jesus, they should mean so much. In one sentence John clarifies his role, Jesus’ rightful place and our approach to faith in Jesus. You ready? Here it is: You must increase and I must decrease. Or. You must become greater and I must become less.
That’s it right there. This is the way to an uncluttered heart. “I” become less and “Jesus” becomes more. I must “decrease” for Jesus to “increase”. I move things out of the way to make room for Jesus. We can have all the other things in our life in order, but if this part is out of sorts then the other stuff doesn’t matter anyways.
I hope you’re thoughtful with your time so that your calendar helps you and doesn’t hurt you. I hope you’re a good steward with the money God provides. I hope you’re wise in your relationships, feeding others and being fed. I hope you have peace and not fear. I hope your can identify life seasons and navigate them well. But above all that, we simple need more of Jesus. We need to rearrange the furniture of our heart and make room for him. Some things need to just be moved, other things need to to be removed. Jesus, simply Jesus, is what must take the most space in our hearts. Because less of me actually means a better me. Less of me and more of him will always lead to a better version of myself. Jesus makes me a better human. How? By inviting him to take residence in my heart and life and letting his life flow through mine.
So as we continue on this journey of simplifying our lives, remember that Jesus, simply Jesus, takes the first and foremost spot in anyone’s heart, everything else should fall into place after that.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you”(Matthew 6:33)
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small(er) group questions:
So, this series is done. What theme or topic spoke to you or challenged you most? Why?
How would you describe a cluttered heart?
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else guard your heart…” What does that say to you? Why is this so important?
Take a few minutes to talk about John 3:30. “He must become greater, I must become less”. “He must increase and I must decrease”. How do you begin to unpack that?
We end with this one thought, ‘Simply Jesus’. What most excites you or encourages you about who Jesus is?
As you pray, please include a prayer for those affected at the Pickering High School this week.