Proverbs 23 3-23-20

Standards have their roots in God. Any standards that we have are based upon a value system. It’s a God thing. As Christians, our standard was spoken by John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He must increase; I must decrease.” Let’s break it down:

  1. “He must increase”– John was speaking specifically about Jesus and His ministry of the reconciliation of mankind to God. So, if Jesus increases in our lives, then our relationship with God will grow closer and stronger, clearer and more natural.
  2. “I must decrease”– John’s ministry was over; his task was finished, which was to introduce the Messiah to Israel. From that point on, John intentionally faded into the background of history. He did not get to follow Jesus as a disciple, which I think that he would have–had he not been arrested by Herod. The spotlight had moved from John to Jesus.

In our own lives, how does this verse apply? Let’s look at it in reverse order:

  1. “I must decrease”- Our lives need to move from being about us to being about Christ and His continuing mission for souls. It really is all about Him! There is a word that describes us: Entitlement– the fact of having a right to something. The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatmentWe are deserving, alright, deserving of death! “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23. Where is our gratefulness? Our thankfulness? Our love for our Savior who rescued us and gave us His Spirit? Who literally brought us out of the grave of sin and death? Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20a. We will do well to adopt this same attitude.
  2. “He must increase”- As we decrease in our own minds, the Spirit has the opportunity–and room–to reveal Christ to us. He IS CHRIST in us! We begin to perceive things and learn things as we read His Word, do His will, and listen to Him throughout the day. He Is Teaching Us. What kinds of things? From today’s chapter:

1 …note well what is before you… 3 Do not crave his delicacies…

4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. 5 Cast but a glance at riches…

6 Do not eat the food of a begrudging [stingy, self-serving] host, do not crave his delicacies;

7 Do not speak wisdom to fools…

10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone [steal land from your neighbor]…

12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to knowledge.

15, 16, 17 Be wise; speak what is right; be zealous for the fear [reverence] of the LORD.

23 Buy the truth and do not sell it–wisdom, instruction and insight as well.

26 Give your heart to Jesus and let your eyes delight in His ways.

27 Stay away from a (morally) loose woman.

28 Stay away from alcohol and anything that would make “your eyes see strange sights, and your mind imagine confusing things.”

If we focus on Christ becoming our all in all, our number one priority, the LORD of our lives, we will turn our hearts and attention to Him. There’s nothing we can do FOR Him; we MUST do life WITH Him. Our connection to Him is the point of our salvation. Let’s walk with Jesus today. May He “hold us by our right hand and guide us with His counsel.” Psalm 73:21-22.

Abba, may I be the first to take my own advice. I acknowledge You as my Savior and LORD. Be first place in my life. I open myself up to Your leadership and guidance. Now, tune my heart to hear Your voice as I go through today. May I perceive, acknowledge, and obey. May You increase and may I decrease. Amen.

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