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Shrinking Self  

In Richard Matheson’s novel, The Shrinking Man, the lead character Scott Carey is exposed to a radioactive cloud causing him to begin shrinking. In just months, he loses three inches in height and continues to get smaller—to the point a Black Widow spider pursues him in his own basement.

John the Baptist’s life exemplifies a different kind of shrinking. When comparing himself to Jesus Christ, John declares, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).  Could seven words possibly pack more punch?

Ours is an age of shallow slogans and empty talking points. But when John the Baptist made this famous declaration, he wasn’t trying to be glib.  He was doing what he always did—speaking truth boldly.

This business of an increasing Jesus and a decreasing self is not for the faint of heart (it cost John his head, remember?). So how do we go about it—making Jesus large and ourselves small?

F.B. Meyer writes, “The only hope of a decreasing self is an increasing Christ. There is too much of the self-life in us all….But how can we be rid of this accursed self-consciousness and pride? Ah! We must turn our back on our shadow and our face towards Christ. We must look at all things from his standpoint, trying to realize always how they affect Him."

Unlike the fictional Shrinking Man, who lost a seventh of an inch every day—without trying, our struggle will be lifelong. But it’s a battle we must face—and win.

"If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”    —Jesus (Mark 9:35)

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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