Increasing and Decreasing

cross shadowAs my faith grows, my anxiety should lessen. (Philippians 4:4-7)

As my hope is strengthened, my discouragement will diminish. (Isaiah 40:31)

My self-absorption is gradually replaced by a focus on others.  (Philippians 2:3-4)

My critical spirit yields to compassion, empathy and  love for all I meet.
(John 13:34-35)

–the old, sin-deadened I– must decrease. Christ in me must increase: 

“Self-denial conjures up in our minds all sorts of images of groveling and self-hatred. We imagine that it most certainly means the rejection of our individuality and will probably lead to various forms of self-mortification.

On the contrary, Jesus called us to self-denial without self-hatred. Self-denial is simply a way of coming to understand that we do not have to have our own way. Our happiness is not dependent upon getting what we want…Self-denial is not the same thing as self-contempt. Self-contempt claims that we have no worth, and even if we did have worth we should reject it. Self-denial declares that we are of infinite worth and shows us how to realize it. Self-contempt denies the goodness of the creation: self-denial affirms that it was indeed good. Jesus made the ability to love ourselves the prerequisite for our reaching out to others.”

 –from Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster
(as quoted in Disciplines for the Inner Life, page 166-167)

 

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One response to “Increasing and Decreasing

  1. livinrightinpgh

    To daily crucify the flesh, take up our cross, and follow HIM….

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