I attended a different church in Arizona this past weekend. We sang a wonderful song I'd never heard before, Be Lifted Up. Very simple song, with powerful message.
The first verse of the scripture above came to mind...He must increase, but I must decrease. We humble ourselves before Him. That means bowing. Then...He will lift us up. As I read the context of scripture it added to the meaning. Again! It's all about Him...and has nothing to do with me...without Him. He must increase while I must decrease. Who knows best? I still need a better realization of this.
Then this came to mind:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)
Jesus, the vine. Me, a branch. I can do nothing (worthwhile) without Him. I cannot live without His giving me my next breath. To do the will of the Father, I must submit and allow Him to be the Lord of my life. How well am I doing, I wonder sometimes?
Do you notice the order of things? He must increase...first...but I must decrease. Perfect sense. He is Alpha and Omega, First and Last. He, according to the opening scripture, is above all. That automatically puts us lower. To bow...mmmm...lower still.
In just a few short lines of the song, a very powerful message was brought forth. It came from scripture. Scripture is God's truth. God does not lie. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can rely on Him, if we first bow humbly before Him. If we do, He alone will lift us up. Hallelujah!
He sustains those who bow to Him. He is near to those who call upon Him. He fulfills our desires if we look to Him in reverence. He saves and preserves only those whosoever shalls who call on the name of the Lord, and willingly bow before Him. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:3,John 3:7)
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-11,13)
Man is stubborn. Man wants his own way. Man in rebellion to God determines his own eternal fate. The Bible says today is the day of salvation. Why delay?
Psalm 145:14-15,18-20 - The LORD upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The LORD preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.