Too often in life, I seek the quick fix. I want to find the silver bullet that will take me to where I want to go almost instantly. Microwave meals, minute rice, movies on demand–I can almost always find a modern convenience to fill and feed this desire, until it reaches a ravenous level, affecting all parts of my life.
This penchant for quick results is ingrained quite deeply in all of us, and often spills over into our spiritual lives. We expect that we should advance on the fields rather quickly, leaping over tall obstacles and tough temptations in a single bound. We expect through a prayer or two that all our wants will be met, or that one truly deep Bible study will help us conquer our sins. We expect the watershed moment of rapturous revelation through which our hearts will be radically changed.
However these moments are incredibly rare. Many people will go their whole lives while experiencing very few of these moments. And so this noticeable absence drains them of their spiritual fervor and joy. But maybe the problem lies not so much with us, but with our method. Maybe the Lord’s design for sanctification doesn’t rely so much on these watershed moments, but on something more steady and substantial.
I read a book recently called, “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus.” In it, the author tells a story about Rabbi Akiva, who lived in the 1st century AD, and was eventually killed by the Romans. It’s a bit of a long quote, but I thought it appropriate:
“One day as Rabbi Akiva was shepherding his flocks, he noticed a tiny stream trickling down a hillside, dripping over a ledge on its way toward the river below. Below was a massive boulder. Surprisingly, the rock bore a deep impression. The drip, drip, drip of water over the centuries had hollowed away the stone. Akiva commented, ‘If mere water can do this to hard rock, how much more can God’s Word carve away into my heart of flesh.’ Akiva realized that if the water had flowed over the rock all at once, the rock would have been unchanged. It was the slow but steady impact of each small droplet, year after year, that completely reformed the stone” (p. 152).
This story has much to say to Christians about our spiritual growth. It’s the steady drip of prayer and Scripture that the Lord uses to mold our redeemed hearts. It’s the simple choice of letting the drops of the Word fall onto our hearts that leads to life-change. Rarely will there be one sermon or song that will so heavily impact our hearts. But a steady diet of Scripture and prayer will most assuredly result in a life that grows in acts of righteousness.
We don’t have to wait for the big moments for our hearts to be changed in a flash. We don’t have to conjure up emotional spiritual highs in order to see our faith grow. All we need is the small choice of obedience and submission to the Word of God.
Through the slow and steady impact of each small droplet, day after day, year after year, our lives will be radically changed, and we will shine as the image-bearers of God.