He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. (John 3:30-31)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Surely we live in a “me first” generation. Often we hear such phrases as “Be the best you” and “Get the benefits you deserve”. Our world is full of people competing and putting pressure on themselves to be the world’s prototype of success. However, scripture tells us we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our thinking is to be opposite of the world’s thinking.
Philippians 2:5-8 tells us we should have the mind of Christ. What does that mean? Jesus did not think the way the world thinks. In fact, His mind went opposite to the thought processes of this world. Let us look at some of the opposites we find in the Bible. Prayerfully, this will help us see how our thinking should be different from the thinking of those around us.
Try this one: decrease in order to increase. In a world of self-promotion, this makes no sense. In Luke 14:8-11, Jesus gives an example of being invited to the wedding. He cautioned against sitting in the highest room in case a more honorable person was invited. Why? This would avoid the embarrassment of having to move down. Jesus said it would be better to sit in a lower room and have the host invite you to move up. Hear His words, “Whosoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Christians do not need to self-promote. Like John the Baptist, our thinking should be, “We will decrease so that Jesus can increase in our lives.”
Let’s move on to this: die in order to live. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Water baptism itself demonstrates the spiritual reality that our old selves are crucified and we now walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus.
Then there is this one: lose in order to find. Matthew 16:25 speaks of losing our lives for His sake, then finding them in the end. Matthew 6:19-21 speaks of laying up treasure in Heaven rather than hoarding them here. Simply put, where our hearts are is where our treasures will be found. The Apostle Paul says it this way in Phillipians 3:8-10, “I count everything I know and everything I have as loss in order to really know Jesus.”
I propose to you that many times we are too wrapped up in this world system. We concern ourselves so much with the temporary things of this life; our thinking becomes too worldly. Thinking opposite of this world helps take our eyes off of temporary problems and setbacks so that we can see past this world to the treasures that await those who love Him.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.