John 3:30 (NIV), “He must become greater; I must become less.”
We pray, “I just want more of You,” and we sing songs that say, “More of you Jesus.” Why do we do that? It sounds so spiritual and maybe it makes us feel like we are really trying. Possibly we mean we want to experience more of Him in our lives, or most likely we just don’t understand that He already gave ALL of Himself to us. He has already given us everything. How much more could He give?
Romans 8:32 (NIV), “ He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Emphasis mine)
How much is all? Does all include all of Jesus? All of God? All of Heaven? You bet it does. Let’s look at this parable that Jesus told us.
Matthew 13:45-46 (DRB), “Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
Who is the merchant? God is. Who is the pearl (one pearl) of great value or great price? I am, ok, you are. We are, but still it says “one” so He did it for each one of us individually. This is important because the Liar will try to tell you that “lots of people would sacrifice their lives in exchange for dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of people. Nothing personal for you in Christ’s death.” But, get this, He died for you. Just you. Me, just me. If anyone of us would have been the only one, He still would have willingly given His life in exchange for us. He paid the ultimate price, Matthew says he “sold ALL He had” to purchase us. How much is all?
So we can’t get more of Him. There is nothing more to give, He already did. We can’t get more of His love, presence, grace, mercy, or any other gift you want to name here. He gave it all! On the cross, before time began, before Adam was created, before you were born, He gave it all. Out of time, outside of our Calendar, not just 2000 years ago. He paid it all.
So what do we really mean when we say “More of you?” We should be saying what John the Baptist said, and I am trying to practice what I preach, “Less of me.” We can’t get more of His presence, but we can spend more time in it. We can’t get more of His love, but we can accept more, allow more of it to rule and reign in our hearts. We can’t get more forgiveness, but we repent more often and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts. We can experience more of Him by putting Him first in our lives and putting ourselves second. Less of our wants, less of our plans, less of our whining and complaining, less of our stubbornness, and less of our self-righteousness. We can experience the “Fullness of God.” It isn’t impossible. How does that happen?
Ephesians 3:19 (AMP), “and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].”
When we practically, through personal experience, know, really know, His love. This knowing is not head knowledge. It is the difference between recognizing the love of your life as someone you read about or heard about, and becoming one flesh with them. Knowing. Intimate. When we know that, then, we get the richest experience of God’s presence in our lives. “Completely filled and flooded with God Himself”. I love that. I want that.
What is your prayer?
“Less of me.” Amen.