• Michael Haldas

Increasing and Descreasing


“ ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30). John expresses a humility that serves as an example for all believers. He renounces all earthly glory and reputation for the sake of Christ. By allowing Christ to increase in him, John himself finds true glory. This statement further indicates the end of the old covenant. As the law vanishes, the grace of Jesus Christ abounds. John's declaration is revealed in the liturgical calendar, wherein his birth is celebrated at a time when the sun begins to decrease in the sky (June 24), while Christ's birth is celebrated when the sun begins to increase (Dec. 25).” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 3:30)

“Holiness is better understood as wholeness, being made whole, or healed. We seek healing from the darkness and estrangement we’ve inherited as a result of the Fall. We seek out the God of righteousness, who alone can heal us of our infirmity. As Christ increases in us, our fallen nature decreases. We replace our fallen self by keeping God’s commandments and loving God before all else. When we do so, the ego is trampled down and we become children of the Most High.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Our duty - both clergy and laity - as we read in the First Epistle of Peter, is to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls us to account for the hope and faith that is in us" (1 Peter 3:15), that is, to reflect the light of Christ in all that we do. One current author writes that there is a need for Christians whose lifestyle and work style are so unique and so distinctive that friends and co-workers will want to know why. Jesus instructed us to be:..salt, yeast, and light. We are not called to be great, but Like St. John the Baptist, to point to Jesus' greatness. We are to decrease so that He may increase.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“… we remember how his [St. John the Baptist] final words to his followers were, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) Indeed John’s entire purpose was to endorse and glorify Jesus as the Christ and to lead others to do the same. It is good that we commemorate St. John the Baptist, because his role is ours as well. We are to endorse Jesus as our Savior, and we are to tell others so. We are to prepare our own hearts to receive Christ and encourage others to do the same. And the major work of our lives is not for us to increase our financial holdings and our wealth, but to increase the wealth of our spirits, to allow Christ to increase in us, and work in concert with Him. Our purpose is to endorse and glorify Christ, and to lead others to do the same.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Our purpose in life is union with Christ, an increase in Him and a decrease in self. Through this union and increase/decrease we become filled with the Holy Spirit and become who we are meant to be, and do the good works we are meant to do. Because of sin, the damage to our will and ability to think clearly, we perceive decrease to self to be giving up something instead of gaining the ultimate something - Him. Therefore, we resist our true calling and spend time trying to create a life of ease, comfort, security and other things that actually may feel good and right at the moment, but stunt our growth as persons, and thus fail to lead others to Christ.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

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