A Simple Math Lesson on God

January 17, 2011 | 17 comments

The sentences and emails and phone calls start with the same word over and over: “I.”

Even the day’s thoughts start this way, as morning light slants through the bedroom window, nudging me awake. Eight times out of ten, the I’s have it.

I push back the covers, shuffle past the devotional book and the spot in the carpet where knees should bend first before I attempt anything else. I look at the blinking dots on the digital clock, and start counting the things to add to the lists. I can pray and walk at the same time, can’t I?

Before I can fix my eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith, my thoughts have zeroed in on the I. As if to say: I will assert myself to accomplish all that I need to do this day.

But this morning, I’m hushed by His greatness. How do I ever get tricked into thinking it’s all about me?

Last words on my lips last night were these: “I want to make much of you, Jesus.”

I was never very good at arithmetic, but this day starts with a math lesson in greater-than, less-than. I draw straight lines and loop letters and shake my head in awe over the infinite greatness of God.

ME. ME. ME. ME. me


“He must become greater; I must become less.” — John 3:30


Photos: Scripture doodles. God’s words take root in me with this simple exercise of doodling Bible verses.

RELATED: “Word, It’s what’s for Dinner” and “Nursing Home Visit.”

by | January 17, 2011 | 17 comments


  1. Cassandra Frear

    Lovely. I couldn't agree more.

    From C.S. Lewis:

    The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other
    point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.
    We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through (Mere Christianity).  

  2. Doug Spurling

    The words "Take your time you get there faster" have crossed my lips time and again. And when I take time to listen to Him who is Timeless – the "to do" list seems to shrink. But, it's too easy to get too busy…Thanks for this beautiful reminder.

  3. Deidra

    Read a book once that challenged me to go through the entire day without saying the word "I". It was such a difficult and humbling assignment. Yes. More of Him. So much more…

  4. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Cassandra — The concept behind your C.S. Lewis quote has been running through my mind ever since you shared it this morning. My thanks. So grateful for you…

    Doug — Yes! And you know? I've been trying to make more "to-be" lists instead of "to-do" lists. Who God wants me to be seems more important than all the things I think I must "do."

    Deidra — Oh boy. That would be difficult. Actually, as I started writing this post this morning, I challenged myself to do the same. I couldn't do it. Look, even here in the comment box, I've said "I" about eight times. 🙂

  5. Stacy

    Your post echoed my own prayers from this morning. Love the "doodling" regarding Scripture. Powerful image. God Bless, Stacy

  6. Megan Willome

    Doodling Bible verses? Next time you come to Laity, be sure you visit with Linda Roberts, Mark's wife. Her Scripture doodles are stunning.

  7. Beth E.

    Scripture doodles? I've never heard of them! But, I am intrigued by them. The way our youngest son studies his history or government classes at the college is by drawing cartoons with the information. I guess scripture doodling is a similar thing. Totally cool!

    This post made me think of the Steven Curtis Chapman song, "Much of You". Here's the chorus:

    I want to make much of You, Jesus
    I want to make much of Your love
    I want to live today and give You the praise
    That You alone are so worthy of
    I want to make much of Your mercy
    I want to make much of Your cross
    I give You my life
    Take it and let it be used
    To make much of you

  8. Beth E.

    I accidentally hit the enter button! Didn't mean to leave without telling you what an inspiration you are to me.

    Love you dearly…

  9. Rose

    Oh what a great point you make in this post. I, I, I, Me, Me, Me. Lord please let ME diminish and YOU become the first words out of my mouth each morning!

  10. Sandra Heska King

    This is going to make it difficult to speak. Guess that's a good thing.

    Oh, that He would be first, last, all.

    You are such a blessing!

  11. Lyla Lindquist

    Have a habit of leaving out pronouns. Does that count if the "I" is only understood? 😉

    Your words remind me of some things, ones of which I need reminding.

  12. growup318.com

    This is beautiful, thank you for posting this. I was encouraged and challenged by it.
    God Bless.

  13. jasonS

    That's an awesome illustration! I have to send this to my wife who's a math teacher. 🙂 Thanks Jennifer.

  14. Joan Davis

    A good reminder, Jennifer! Less of me and more of Him! What could be better than that?

    Living for Him, Joan

  15. Jeanne Damoff

    What a great visual! (I'm in the same math class.)

    Love, Jeanne

  16. Duane Scott

    Being a visual person, the pictures were wonderful.

    I want less of me, and more of Christ.

  17. Sharon

    Thank you for posting this. So true and so well written! This has been the one thing He has been teaching for the past year. He must increase, I must decrease. We will never come to fully serve Him, worship Him, or live in the fullness as He offers until we get this math equation solved in our hearts. (This is where my blog gets its title – to daily remind me of this truth.) I love the doodling by the way!


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