We often look for the big change, the fast track to instant sanctification. “God, radically change me–now” Conference ads don’t always help, promising the immediate–impartations, miracles and life-changing encounters. Conferences open new doors, change direction, give fresh experiences, even impartations. Every blessing (like the benediction) promises change–incrementally. We experience growth spurts, especially kids. Growing pains result. But it’s not the norm–in the physical or spiritual. Life-changing experiences usually mean change in direction, not character. That takes time.
We are being changed “from one degree of glory to another.” We are “transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” “The light of the righteous is like the dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until full day.” We are commanded to “be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2), taking thoughts captive–one at a time.
I built up to a twenty-four minute plank, increasing fifteen seconds every other day. Slow process. We grow physically little by little. So slow it is imperceptible. Quick growth means un-health. Think cancer. Invest little by little. Becomes a lot—over time.
The children of Israel were taught to gather manna daily. Jesus taught, “Give us this day our daily bread.” David promises, “Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day” (Ps. 61:8). Wisdom says, “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors” (Pr. 8:23). We “encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). We take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).
Erikka misunderstood the nature of growth in plants. She pulled up ALL the flowers at age four I had JUST planted. “Why?” “I wanted to see if they were growing.” Little by little is the way of nature and the way of God. Rather than asking God to do something massive, use today to gain ground. Take in nourishment that brings growth–over time.
“The testing of your faith DEVELOPS perseverance” (Js. 1:3). “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering PRODUCES perseverance” (Rom. 5:3). Process words. Fruit is not given; it is produced, little by little, test by test. Fruit is not given; it is grown.
Hasty is not a good sign (Pr. 19:2). “An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end” (Pr.. 20:21). “If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit” (Prov 25:16). “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Pr. 13:11).
“I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land” (Ex. 23:29,30; Deut. 7:22). Faithful in a “very little” (Lk. 1917) is good with God. We go from “strength to strength” (Ps. 84:7), from “glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Exceptions: birth (including new birth), death, infilling, and second coming (“in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet”). “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”–immediately (I John 3:3).