He must increase, but I must decrease.
This verse is one to which I frequently return. Coming to it this morning, I found it fresh and new as the first time I read it.
The context is John the Baptist’s disciples telling him that Jesus was baptizing people nearby. John says, and I paraphrase, that it is all good; that Jesus is the whole reason for his (John’s) ministry; that Jesus must increase while John decreases.
This concept of Jesus increasing and John decreasing has often been applied to believers in various ways. John is treated as a stand-in for the believer and Jesus is Himself. The idea boils down to Jesus increasing in whatever area is appropriate in the life of the believer and the believer decreasing in that area. If the subject is obedience, then Jesus must increase in me so as to make me obedient as He is obedient and I must decrease so that I stop disobeying.
Today, I felt that I needed this reminder that Jesus must increase while I must decrease. There are many areas in my life in which this is true — trust, obedience, desires — and there is not a single area in which an increase in Christ would not augment the positive until it reached the fullness of Christ or attenuate the negative until it was gone. Regardless of the area of my life, Christ must increase and I must decrease. Jesus must be the focus.