Little by Little

Sometimes there is a task so huge that I’m not sure I’m ever going to get it done. Sometimes that feeling keeps me from even bothering to start the task, and it goes undone for a long time. But it’s like the saying goes: “How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.” When you break a task into smaller tasks, it becomes more manageable and can even feel like you’re making more progress. Being able to focus on a smaller, less stressful, less involved task really makes the bigger one easier. One thing at a time is much easier than trying to handle everything at once.

For example, cleaning the whole house in a day can be an ordeal, but if I just take it one room at a time and one step in each room at a time, it isn’t so bad – especially if I put on some epic music. Dust all the furniture in the room, dust the baseboards, then sweep and/or vacuum. Or if it’s the bathroom, I work on one area at a time. Tub/shower, done. Toilet, done. Sink and mirror, done. Floor, done.

Sometimes you don’t even have to do the broken down huge task all at once. House cleaning example again, if I just do one part of the cleaning every day, I don’t have to do a bunch of it all at once. Should I decide to do it all at once anyway, it’s not as hard because it’s still mostly clean thanks to the maintenance I’ve been doing. Dust one or two rooms one day, vacuum them the next. Clean the toilet one day, the bathtub the next. Wipe down the kitchen counters regularly, make sure they’re clean as soon as I’m done making a mess on them.

Sometimes you don’t even have to do the full task yourself. Another house cleaning example! When my siblings and I clean the house, we each have something to do that makes it faster. In the kitchen, someone will make sure the dishes are put away so someone can clean the sink, meanwhile someone’s cleaning the stove and someone else is cleaning the counters. Once that’s all done someone vacuums and then someone mops.

While thinking about all this, I started thinking about the process of sanctification. When you believe in Jesus and He becomes Lord of your life, you have some changes He’ll be making with you. We Christians are called to be more and more like Jesus every day. That can be a daunting task, especially when we so often fail and fall short of the perfection God wants for us. But God breaks it down for us, working with us in ways we can each understand. God can take us one day at a time, one step at a time, little by little.

We are to work with God to accomplish this sanctification, and it’s going to take us several steps, much like travel or a journey on foot. It’s going to be something we need to do every day, like personal hygiene and eating. It’s going to be something we need to do regularly like cleaning the house. But again, God can take us little by little.

See also Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:16; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Peter 1:15-16, 2:2

A few related things:
The Process of Sanctification
Becoming Who You Are, Staying Who You Are
Religious Tooth-Brushing
Detailing the Heart and Mind


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