The Beauty of Bit by Bit
Read: Romans 8:29; Philippians 2:12-13
In mid-May of this year, I was surprised to discover that the temperature was 7 degrees when I checked it early one morning. I wondered if this colder than usual night might damage any of the emerging growing things. It did exactly that. This year, we will have no apples on our trees, and I thought at first, there would be no peaches. However, several days ago, while examining the tree, I was surprised to find a few very minuscule peaches and one that was about the size of 1/4 of one of my fingernails. I was delighted because that meant that there was a chance that we would have a bit of fruit. Today, when I once again searched the tree, I wasn't able to locate the tiniest of the little fruits, but that one little trooper peach is now the size of a stout marble! Yippee! I don't know if we will ever have a full-grown peach, but I know I will enjoy watching it grow bit by bit.
Why is it so fun for me to watch this slow process? The answer is sweet and simple. I have had the joy of picking a tree ripened peach from this tree and know how juicy and luscious the peaches can be. Therefore, with that in mind, the anticipation of what might be makes the process of watching the growth and change in even one little peach all the sweeter. Another wonder of God's creation.
As good as it is to watch God's plants grow and change, it is even more awesome to see His new creations grow and become more and more like Him, 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18. That too is a process He oversees with the greatest of care as He makes both our actions and reactions new. Bit by bit, we become like Jesus, Romans 8:29.
If you are like me, sometimes a look at your life and its growth seems disappointing. We see only the tiniest evidence of the fruit of change. Yet, think of the One Who is at work. It is the Holy Spirit Who actually inhabits each of us who belong to Jesus. Since He is content to dwell in us, patiently working in our lives to bring about growth, shouldn't we rejoice in even the little fruit we see? After all, God Himself is overseeing the process of showing a watching world what He is like, and He is doing that through the way He is changing us bit by bit. When I looked at that growing little peach today, I wasn't disappointed that I couldn't eat it right now. I was simply glad to see its growth.
How about us? Do we look for the Holy Spirit's sweet work in our brothers and sisters, or do we watch instead for their missteps? What if we do see a flaw or sin in either our own or a fellow believer's life? What if we used that as an opportunity to thank the Lord that He is still at work in that life? What if we would pray for strength, grace and growth in that life instead of criticizing or giving up on him when we see a failing? Wouldn't it be fun to look for the growth in both our own and other brothers and sisters lives? How good it would be to get happy when we see ourselves or someone else act or react in a way that is similar to the way Jesus did?
Several months ago, I was with a sister when she made a mistake. It was a time when she might have berated herself, but guess what she did? She simply remained positive and rested in God's ability to help her correct her error. She knew that Jesus was the One Who had helped her too, and she rejoiced in the sweetness of being confident in Him. She walked in victory, holding her head up, Psalm 3:3, rather than needlessly tearing herself down. I loved being happy with her. The sweetness of God bringing growth bit by bit.
Praise God Who both plants the seed that begins His good work in us, John 3:3 and also oversees and completes His good work in us. Let's enjoy watching what He is doing in both ourselves and one another because of that.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6