“He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
While John the Baptist was referring to the relative roles of himself and Jesus, there is nevertheless a profound spiritual truth in this scripture; we must decrease and He must increase; and unless we decrease He cannot increase. Another way of putting it is that we must decrease in the fleshly nature and increase in the spiritual nature; the one is very much dependent upon the other; unless we decrease our carnal appetites, our spiritual appetites cannot grow; we must hunger less for the things of this world and this life and instead, “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).
It is so easy to engage in endless dialogue about the deeper spiritual life without actually being altered in any significant way; this is one of the big traps for believers. The fact is that Christ Jesus Himself is the deeper life and the only way to true, intimate fellowship with Him is through an ever increasing, deeper knowledge of God that can only result from meditation upon the Word and the Person of Christ. The presence of Christ brings the blessedness of divine fellowship; how tragic that so many Christians don’t enjoy that experience.
Paul wrote that he ruled out all worldly things in favour of the “surpassing value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” so that he might be found in Christ, not in any righteousness of his own or any religious system, but in Christ alone. “That I may know Him” (Philippians 3:10) was his cry.
Man had intimate knowledge of God and daily companionship with Him and he lost this knowledge and companionship through sin; and his heart was darkened. That intimate fellowship is once again offered to man through knowledge and submission to Christ Jesus as Lord; the darkened heart can be blessed with light through the One who is Himself, the light of men which shines in the darkness.