The Great Shepherd lives within his under-shepherds, but he does not usurp them.
Too often I have heard (and even employed) the phrase, “I must decrease but he must increase” in a way that implied the gradual evaporation of the person in reference. As if one’s personality was eventually absorbed into and overshadowed by the person of Christ. Until all that’s left to see is Jesus living in me, as the song puts it.
I cannot subscribe to that line of thinking anymore.
I believe the beauty of God’s plan, the glory of his presence in his people, is the expression of his character through the medium of his people. In other words, the radiance of God’s glory is refracted rather than reflected. We are prisms rather than mirrors. Mirrors are incidental; prisms are essential.
The combination of God’s character and our personality offers endless opportunities for the full spectrum of God’s heart to be seen and enjoyed.