I think a lot of the ways I live and interact with the world—I think of the things I once valued and what I value now. I spend a lot of time wondering about the areas I’ve grown in and also recognizing the areas I have regressed in. Where the temptation has snuck in—the idolatry and the things I have allowed myself to try to hide to take care of on my own instead of surrendering everything—my dreams, my desires—to God, the only One Who can truly satisfy anyway.
The walk away from the conviction, from the Foundation.
It’s never that we wake up one day and are suddenly faithless and “out of touch” with God—it is never in a moment that we recede from the Presence. It is always faithful steps away—the one more minute of sleep turns into an hour and then it’s been weeks since morning quiet time. And of course, sometimes we need extra sleep—and that extra sleep and rest can be Holy, but it is only Holy if we’re being drawn closer to God.
And none of this is a guilt thing—it’s an awareness thing. We are easily persuaded away from what is Whole and Really Real in exchange for immediacy.
We often walk away from what is most important because longevity is not a societal strong suit. We are easily consumed by the immediate, and it seems much easier for us to be consumed by that than the Eternal.
And it’s not one decision; it’s a million little ones. And that’s what gets us—it’s the habit creation.
“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” (C.S. Lewis)
I think of Solomon when I think of the little things that trip us up. Remember how he just started with one wife who worshipped a pagan god? And then he ended up with hundreds? There was a second wedding, and a third, and a fourth, and a tenth, and a hundredth, and each time was just a step, each step a bit further than the last. One more step halfway into the destructive journey seems much less drastic than jumping from the beginning to the halfway point of being destroyed.
I think of King David, after God’s own heart, and he still had his times of tripping and failing that were stepped into leisurely, not cannon-balled into carelessly. He stayed home when he should have gone to war—he chose the cowardly, he saw a woman, he slept with her, an affair, a baby came, a husband murdered, a family destroyed, his wife betrayed. That wasn’t one decision—it was step by step. And he eventually repented, but what a terrible series of events that I’m sure he would have wished away in a moment if he could have.
The Enemy loves to keep us safely distracted and one step at a time. The outrageous leaps are often too showy and obvious, but it’s the slow things that really get us. It is not usually the big things in our lives; it’s the little things.
The smallest habits, the every day.
And so we must ask what our everyday looks like—what our everyday is built of and how it composes us. This is where we find loss or victory—in the everyday, in the repetition, routine, and regular.
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9) And a repeated action destroys or builds a foundation worth standing on.