What we do in the little moments determines
what happens in the great ones.
Scripture chronicles for us some little moments as well as great ones in the lives of individuals. David, for example, was well known for his great moment when he confronted Goliath with a slingshot. That great moment, however, was determined years earlier when he confronted the lion and the bear attacking the flock with the same faith that was used to conquer Goliath. I Samuel 17:36 states “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.” We see the same relationship between little and great moments in the life of Daniel. We all remember the great moment in the lion’s den. The little moment came years earlier when he sought the favor of God when in his teenage years. The following is recorded in Daniel 1:8. “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.” We also see in Scripture the little moments in the life of Judas the traitor. In John 11:5-6 we see the following statement about Judas. “‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” This little moment revealed the character of the man who was later to betray our Lord for thirty pieces of silver.
Character and conduct are always intimately related. Our character is consistently revealed by our conduct. That which is hidden in our character will be made open and visible by our conduct. Character is the root, conduct is the fruit. One is being, the other is doing. Both the little moments and the great ones in our lives are subject to our character. If our character, or root, is holiness, then the fruit, or conduct, will be righteousness. If our character is unholy, then the conduct will be unrighteousness.
Luke 16:10 states “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” We are urged by this passage of Scripture to become diligent in that which is least. We are to seek Him and be obedient to His voice in the smallest and most insignificant areas of our lives. These are the ones which occur when we are alone, when we are hidden from view, when no one but our Lord knows what transpires between Him and ourselves. These are the all determining little moments that will ultimately declare the course of our lives. How then should we guard them? How do we bring each of these moments to Him so that His character is formed in our lives? One of the habits of Lorne Sanny that he shared with a friend of mine has been helpful to me in this regard.
Periodically I have the opportunity to meet with Al Ewert, who has worked with World Impact here in Wichita for many years. He had occasion, with others, to attend a retreat in Colorado Springs with Lorne Sanny for several days. Al related that on one of the days, Lorne led them in prayer and during that prayer he rededicated his life to the Lord. Later during another meeting that day Lorne again rededicated his life to the Lord. It was not long after this that Lorne again rededicated his life to the Lord. Al was struck by the fact that this Godly man continued to make multiple petitions to the Lord for rededication. When Al asked him the reason for the repetition, Loren replied that “No sooner do I make a request for rededication than there begins to be a drift away from the Lord. I find that I need to renew this rededication continually.” If a man of Lorne’s spiritual stature found this prayer necessary, how much more should we seek His face in rededication ourselves? Hebrews 2:1 reminds us that “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” There is no middle ground. We are all of us either paying more careful attention, or we are drifting away.
We are all familiar with the Scriptural phrase “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” From this we can know that the root of our life is centered in our thoughts. It is there that the battle begins and ends for the eventual control of our acts, our habits, our character and our destiny. It is in this arena, then, that we must be stedfast in addressing the little moments in our lives. II Corinthians 10:5 has been of great help to me in this regard. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The KJV reads as follows. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” This requires a daily renewal of our moment by moment commitment to look to our Lord for His thoughts, His words, and His deeds as He expresses His life in and through us. It requires a moment by moment dependence upon the Holy Spirit to reveal to our consciousness the thoughts that need to be brought into the presence of our living Lord. Should thoughts of anxiety, resentment, unholy or other troubling thoughts arrest our day, we should picture ourselves grabbing the thought by the scruff of its neck and marching into the presence of the Lord and saying. “ Here is this thought that is persistently troubling me. Would you please deal with it?” G. Campbell Morgan comments that this practice as described in II Corinthians 10:5 is the true essence of discipleship.
Most days bring us unexpected delays, interruptions, misunderstandings, stress at our jobs, or family challenges. Our Lord has made His resurrected life available to us to meet each of these needs. As we consistently look to Him, knowing that each situation is brought by His Sovereign love we can rest assured that His Grace will be made available to us to express His Will through our lives. It is my prayer that the practice described by Lorne Sanny and the application of II Corinthians 10: 5 to our thoughts will so transform our lives so that His character will be evident in both our little and our great moments.
In Christ, Richard Spann