Growth: Miles or Millimeters?

Everyone wants to grow – in some fashion or other. Children want to be teenagers. Teenagers want to be Adults. Adults (wish they were kids!) want to be better able to hand pressure, stress, life, money, etc.

As Christians, we desire to be like our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We desire to be there today but we know we are not. For those of us discipling someone (which should be all of us), we often wish for faster growth in our ‘pupil’.

And yet it is often the little things in life that are the most meaningful; the lazy afternoon with the kids or a loved one, the flowers brought home, the breakfast in bed, the extra hug, the “I love you”.

Little things can have a powerful impact. How else can you explain the impact a little red fire ant that is often no more than a few millimeters take down a grown man. Considering that a fire ant (no larger than 6 mm or 1/4 inch long) could potentially take down a 6 feet man, who is 288 times larger, I would say little things can have a big impact. Being personally allergic to fire ants, I know the pain they can cause.

Bees, Hornets and wasps are another one. This past weekend while enjoying my anniversary with my wife I accidentally put my hand down on the side of the pool, right on top of a hornet/wasp (I really don’t know which!). Three days later my hand still has a swollen spot and is sore – from a little flying insect! Little things can make a big difference.

One last illustration: One Degree – just one degree – the difference between boiling water and not boiling water – the difference between having steam and not having steam (which can power all sorts of things). The difference between ending up in one destination or another (over a period of miles) on a nautical journey. Little things can make a big difference.

And when it comes to growing in Christ-likeness it is the little things, done over a long period of time that make the difference. That is our responsibility. That is our expectation. Big changes – to the degree of miles, in contrast to millimeters, are the work of God. Those are putting the Holy Spirit inside us – that’s mile change, not millimeter change. But then when the Holy Spirit says “Do this” or “Don’t do that” on a daily basis – those are the millimeter decisions we make that set the course for our future growth on earth.

While Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are we transformed in a day (in the earthly sense) and so we need to learn to celebrate the millimeters because the millimeters become meters and meters become miles and that is simply a work of God. So stick to the Little Things that God tells you to do each day and let Him take care of the Big things that are out of your control anyway. He has promised to complete the work He began in us (Phil. 1:6), now let’s stick to working out what He’s already worked in us (Phil. 2:12).

And if you’re discipling someone and feeling frustrated, focus on faithfully encouraging the millimeters and let God take care of the miles. Difficult to understand sometimes, but the grace of God is SO much more than we can fathom – it was sufficient for Moses and Abraham, David and Solomon, Peter and Paul, and it is sufficient for us as well.

Let’s get them millimeters in!


About Kevin M. Adams

M.Div.: Biblical Studies M.A.: Biblical Studies B.S.: Criminal Justice Diploma: Business Management 20 Years Youth Ministry 12 Years Food Service 9 Years School Teacher 7 Years Bus Driving 7 Years Church Planter/Pastor Enjoy Camping, Canoeing, Photography, Tennis (not good!), Reading
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