I’ve heard it said that we live in a “microwave society”. We want everything now and instantly, often becoming frustrated when we have to wait.
I remember when my husband and I were first married we didn’t have a microwave, and I constantly kept forgetting to take the meat out of the freezer early enough for it to defrost for the evening meal. Without a microwave to ‘zap” the frozen meat, there would still be a half frozen lump of meat sitting in the fridge or bench by late afternoon, no doubt messing up my dinner plans. I had to learn to be prepared, to not do things in a last minute rush and to plan and think ahead.
However the world we live in seldom wants to wait for anything, and many of us don’t prepare or think too far ahead. We often want things to be different in our lives, for our dreams to come to pass, but we don’t or won’t walk the process that brings the needed transformational change. When it comes to our spiritual lives we may hear about people who are doing amazing exploits for God, or have great faith and boldness. and we wish our lives could be more like theirs.
But what we don’t often realise or acknowledge is that when it comes to transformational change it doesn’t happen “overnight, especially when we are doing things God’s way. If we are going to grow, reach our goals and do great things in our life it will be accomplished a little bit at a time. God’s been writing our story within His story since the beginning of time, and even if we are in a hurry, He doesn’t ever seem to be.
This is where God’s principle of “little by little” applies. It can be both a comfort and helpful instruction to help us stick to doing something a little everyday.
God revealed his little-by-little principle to His people when they came to the land He had promised them. They had just been delivered from slavery in Egypt and were now in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 7:22 says, “And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you” (NKJV).
The nations mentioned in this passage were the “ites” of the Promised Land: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, etc. There were seven “ites” nations – described as mightier than the children of Israel – who were occupying the land, which God had promised to give to His people.
God advised the people that they would be unable to possess the land all at once. But why not? Hadn’t God just miraculously delivered them all from slavery in Egypt, parting the Red Sea for them to escape? Couldn’t God simply cause the Israelites to take their Promised Land in a similar miraculous event?
At times God’s work in our lives is sudden and instantaneous, and it’s great when He moves in our lives like that. But more often than not, there is a process – and it’s in the process that God works on our character, our strength, our patience, our faith, and on who we are, and how we see ourselves.
When we look back we can often see that process over time; just not usually when we are in the middle of it. That’s where we have to trust God; that He is faithful to complete what He has started in us, and that He knows best.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)
Some days may not feel like a success, but if we stay consistent and we looked at our results over time, like plotting on a graph, it would reveal a definite line or curve slanting upwards; with ups and downs along the way.
God outlined the little-by-little principle in the account of the Israelites story in Exodus 23:29-30 when he said, Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land“ (NKJV).
Real strength and growth come in our lives as we consistently do the things that make us grow and reach our goals. If it’s fitness, we exercise regularly, preferably every day. If it’s to eat better, we choose to eat well everyday. If we want to excel at playing an instrument or become proficient at some other skill, it is in the daily practice that we find success and accomplishment. It we want to draw closer to God, knowing Him more and building our faith, then we read God’s word everyday, we keep it before our eyes, ears and heart everyday.
We just don’t do those things when we want to or feel like it, but constantly, following the little by little principle.
If there is something that you wish you did more regularly, try doing it every day, on a regular basis. Write every day, pack a lunch every day, go for a walk or exercise in some way every day, read every day. Spend time with God everyday, read and listen to His word everyday. Pray everyday. A little bit everyday and it get’s easier, until suddenly one day you find yourself seeing results.
Today decide to begin practicing the “little by little” principle everyday in the pursuits that will help you to become the person you were made to be.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to begin the daily process of doing something everyday toward growing and being who you made me to be. Help me to be consistent as I keep increasing my faith, skills and knowledge of you and what you have planned for my life. In Jesus name Amen.