“Intentionally increasing or unintentionally decreasing.” I had heard these words come from my father’s mouth a hundred times, but for some reason, at this point in time, it meant more to me than ever before. Maybe it was because I had been down a hard road of rejection and self-doubt or maybe I was just growing up, or both. Either way, as I listened to my father preach that Sunday, I could not get the words out of my head. I was a mess, and if anything was true, it was that I had not been increasing. Later that day, as golf was on TV and everyone was resting, as was normal for my family on Sunday afternoons, my dad asked me a question, “Hey Mason, how are you and Jesus doing?” Thoughts ran through my head like a fried circuit board: How does he know? What should I say? Should I lie? Then I blurted out, “We are friends.” But my dad was not going to have the proverbial wool pulled over his eyes. He replied full of wit and love, “I know you are friends. I wanna know if you are on speaking terms.” I was busted. I had not been pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and often I felt that I needed to fix myself before I could talk to him in prayer. After my dad asked his question, I felt like I had been filleted open and was on the table for surgery. Over the next year, my dad and I had many conversations about talking with God. He pointed me to the scriptures of John 10:14 and 27: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Today, I am a pastor myself, and I find myself often quoting those words, “Intentionally increasing or unintentionally decreasing.” We as human beings have a deep, innate desire to know and to be known. But there is only one who can fully know us—and that is Jesus. As the human race, we were created to know and be known by God. The desire to be known is fulfilled in God’s love for us. He views you and me with deep love. He will never stop loving you, and he is constantly doing things to pursue you and show his love for you. I encourage you to talk to him. And if you run out of things to say, just listen. He has things to tell you too.
If you feel too busy or bogged down, remember the words of Martin Luther, “I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done.” Our relationship with God is contingent on prayer, and prayer is one of the ways that we as believers can intentionally increase, because otherwise, we will unintentionally decrease.