He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
As the human beings, we like to measure everything. We measure our height, we measure our weight, we measure our job performance or our finances. We just like to measure things. But how do we measure our spiritual growth? Some of us measure our spiritual growth by the number of the books we read or sermons that they listen. Others measure by the theological education that they have received. And some, by how much they do in the church or how successful their ministry is growing. I think all these things are great and are needed in our Christian life, but I don’t think these are the accurate measurements of our spiritual growth. I think John the Baptist worded the best way how we should measure our spiritual growth. «He must increase, but I must decrease.» The best measurement for our spiritual growth is by how much Christ is increasing in our lives and our selfishness and self-centeredness decreases. Do I and others see more of Christ in my life than before? Can I see more of Christ in how I act, behave or respond when I am at home, or at work with the people around me? Do I see that I became more patient, more loving, and kinder than the previous years? Do I see more of Christ-like qualities in my character?
So how do we overcome our barriers and grow? I think John’s spiritual formula is very accurate. It shows us that in order for our sinful self to decrease, Christ needs to increase first in our lives. We shouldn’t focus first on how I can decrease, but instead on how Christ can increase in my life? And once we focus on Christ increasing in our lives, the natural outflow will be that our sinful flesh with its desires will be less decreasing in our lives.