Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Little by Little

And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.
—Deuteronomy 7:22

Recently I thought about my life from the time I seriously began to follow Jesus Christ to the present. Had I known then—at the beginning of the journey—all the things God would take me through, I would probably have been afraid to sign up for the trip.

As I look back, however, I realize that God held my hand and let me advance in small steps. I had times of great discouragement—as we all do. I remember times of bitter tears over my personal failures. But God kept nudging me forward.

That's the secret of living the victorious Christian life—we move ahead little by little. It's an inching forward over months and years. Most of us can understand that. The same is true in the battle for the mind. We don't roust Satan in one big blow and then live in victory forever after. We win one small battle, and then we're ready to move on to the next one. We may have a few major victories that come suddenly, but not many of them. The fight to destroy Satan's strongholds comes mostly by daily, doggedly, moving ahead.

The first time I thought of that fact, it was discouraging, until I realized the wisdom of God. After the Jews left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, God spoke to them before they went into the Promised Land. It was a special land—fertile, beautiful, and promised to them. But in the more than 400 years since Jacob and his sons had left the land, others had moved in and occupied land that didn't belong to them.

For the children of Israel, it wasn't merely a matter of going in and settling down. They had to fight for every foot of ground—even though it was their inheritance.

That's how the spiritual principle works on every level. God has the blessings out there waiting for us, but it's up to us to go in and take the land. Just as it was for the Jews of old, it is a battle.

In the verse at the beginning of this chapter, God spoke of the beasts of the field. There were many wild animals in the land, and it could have been dangerous. But what if we thought of the beasts as pride? What if
God suddenly gave us full, complete victory, and we never struggled again; how would that affect us? Surely pride would creep in.

Our attitude then would be to look down on others who have not been as victorious as we have been. We may not express our condescension in words, but won't those we disdain sense that we think we're superior? And, truthfully, wouldn't we feel superior. We've made it; those poor souls are still struggling.

God has a wonderful plan for each of us, but it never comes with just one major victory, so that we never struggle again. Instead, it's an ongoing warfare, and we must remain vigilant and be aware of the attacks of the enemy.

Another aspect is that because we move ahead little by little, it makes us savor every victory. Each time we overcome or destroy one of Satan's strongholds, we rejoice. We can remain in a constant state of thanksgiving. If we've had only one victory, and that was thirty years ago, how dull our lives would be. Or worse yet, how easy it would be for us to take God for granted. Isn't it better to serve a God who takes us slowly forward, always showing us the way, always encouraging us? We always have new horizons to reach for, and that makes our journey with God exciting!

God, please forgive me for wanting all the victory right now. Help me realize that as I struggle and call on You, I see Your wonderful, loving, and caring hand taking me forward—little by little. For that, I'm so grateful. Amen.

From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by Warner Faith. All rights reserved.

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