Little i
Marybeth Whalen

"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30 (NIV)

The other night my husband and i were at an event where the words to the worship music were placed on a screen for all to see. But this night i noticed something: every time they used the word "I" on the screen, it wasn't capitalized. My editor's eye was drawn to this glaring error, and i spent much of the time that i was supposed to be singing trying to discern why they had done this. Oversight? Trying to be cute? It bugged me.

Then i felt God's whisper to my heart, causing me to go a bit deeper. "Why are you stressing about capitalizing the i?" He asked me. "Why does it need to be capitalized? Who decided that? Maybe these folks recognize that "i" am not important -- but I AM is."

While i am not proposing a little i revolution -- shaking up tradition and causing a crisis in the grammar world -- i am wondering, what does a little i life look like?

Sacrifice? Surrender? Slaying self? Setting apart? Seeking Him? Serving others instead of doing what i want?

This little i thing could catch on. It should catch on, because it's the life Jesus called us to. We don't need to be capitalized. We need to be small, insignificant -- just a jot and a tittle, the littlest marks in the alphabet. Instead of a capital letter that announces our importance. At least, that's what i am learning these days -- and trying to live out.

Sacrifice, surrender and servanthood are hard. But i know that's what God calls us to do; laying down our wants, needs and desires and straining towards His.

Dear Lord, I want to make Your name famous and mine unimportant. Help me to be mindful of my tendency to make things about me. And help me Lord to keep the focus on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

Share with your children the joys of focusing on the Lord with The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

God desires all areas of our lives to be set apart, even our finances. Read Marybeth’s story of surrendering to God in this area in Learning To Live Financially Free by Marybeth and Curt Whalen

Visit Marybeth’s blog

Application Steps:
While not capitalizing your "i's" might not be proper or practical, journal some ways that you can consciously choose to make Jesus become greater in your daily life as you become less.

Do you struggle with taking the focus off God and putting it on yourself? Are there certain times or situations when this happens for you? What can you do to change your response when this happens?

Power Verses:
John 3:31, "The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all." (NIV)

© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i definitely want it to be all about me but i definitely see that He must increase and i must decrease. Thanks this was just what I needed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanx. this is waht I needed to hear. Just today I shed some tears at work, frustrated. Why? Because I was focusing on waht i can do not on what I AM can do through me. Yes i should decrease, and I AM should increase. Help me God.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Lord! This is so true! I do (not knowing) that I tend to increase myself instead of decreasing for the Lord to increase. I thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to bring that to my attention. When someone says something to me that's wrong, someone don't respond to me the way I feel that they suppose to, or when things don't go the way I think that they suppose to...... That is all putting myself before the Lord, because it is not about me, it is about Jesus. I love you and pray that the Lord will continue to bless you, walk with you, and use you for his glory because you are ( with the help of the Holy Spirit) are blessing so many people with your teachings, and your experiences with the Lord. It is freeing and delivering me in so many circumstances. God Bless

Blogger Grandma Elsie said...

What a thought provoking devotional!!!
We all need to listen to this lesson for daily living . i think it is so good that i posted a link to it on my todays blog.Hope a lot of people stop by today.
God Bless,
Elsie <>,

Blogger SuperMom said...

i really needed this today. thanx so much for sharing.

Anonymous Catreece said...

I told my daughter yesterday how important this scripture is in our day-to-day lives. Your illustration was simple yet profound. Our wants and desires change when we take "I" out of it and let God determine our wants and desires. When I let God take over, I am never disappointed because what He wants for me is what I need.
Our family thanks you for your testimony!

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