Get infected: This ain’t no prosperity gospel.

photophilde / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

I’m a fan of small steps.  Stop stressing out about where God will lead you over the next twenty years and just do something to serve Him over the next twenty minutes.  That’s where is starts.  That’s not where it ends.  This is no prosperity gospel where you give the minimum and get the maximum.  In this gospel, you give it all and strangely stop caring about all that stuff you used to want.  But that doesn’t always happen all at once.  Maybe you’re like me, and it starts with small steps.

I’ve gotten some emails asking me whether I honestly think that doing small things for God is enough.  Doesn’t God expect radical abandonment?  Of course He does.  But you have two options.  The first option is to sit around doing nothing (like I did most of my life) waiting until you are so compelled to turn your life upside down that you do it all in one shot.  We’ll call this the Damascus option (Google it).  The other option is to get infected.  I’m getting infected.

Serving God is infectious, people.  It gets into your fibers and takes over.  But it needs a place to start.  It takes something small you get you hooked.  Here’s the deal.  God built you to love feeling happy.  He built you to want things.  He built you to want satisfaction.  The greatest trick evil ever pulled off was convincing you that the junk we buy actually delivers that satisfaction.  And it does, kinda, for a little while.  But the satisfaction you get from watching your high def TV is nothing compared to even the smallest act of service for God.  Nothing.

I don’t advocate small steps because they are better than large steps.  I advocate small steps because they are better than nothing.  And let’s be blunt here for a second.  A lot of us are doing nothing.  I did nothing for years.  Decades, actually.  You can read the second chapter of my book where I describe over and over the times that God dropped lay ministry right in my lap and I was either too dumb or too stubborn to do anything with it.  For me, I needed small steps to catch the infection that would lead to large steps.  I think right now I’m somewhere around medium steps.  But every day that goes by I see a path coming more and more clear that someday leads to radical abandonment.  God shows it too me slowly because he probably knows I’m too much of a spaz to handle it all at once.  My Damascus moment might be right around the corner.  I need to keep working and praying to be ready for it.

I wish I didn’t need to take small steps.  But I do.  And they are better than the non-steps I took for the first 35 years of my life.  My small steps having me starting to feel the infection working within me.  I know that one day I will wake up, look at my wife, and describe to her an adventure that is both scary and awesome all at the same time and we’ll finally say, “We’re doing it.  Whatever the cost.  We’re doing it.”  And those small steps along the way will have prepared me for that day.

I hope you get called to do something crazy.  Something radical.  But until that happens, please join me in taking these small steps.  In the Bible we always come in at the good part.  We come in right when the fishermen are dropping their nets to follow Christ.  And we’re amazed that they would do that right out of the blue.  But was it out of the blue?  What was their backstory?  What small steps had they been taking over the previous ten years before that day came?  Who knows… maybe they wrote a blog.

These are my small steps.  What are yours?  Telling your small steps helps people to connect.  It helps to get them moving in the right direction.  Or, if you’re already onto big steps or even radical abandonment then I would love to read your stories and comments as well.  Inspire us all.  It’s what you were built to do.

We were built to be heroes.  It’s about time we started acting like heroes.

Photo credit: photophilde / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
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13 thoughts on “Get infected: This ain’t no prosperity gospel.

  1. rayb says:

    Hi Jim:
    Been quietly reading along for several weeks. You are doing a great job! From where I sit, writing a blog is a HUGE GIANT step. I am struck with the question, “Why do we think that our steps are measured?” God created each of us with a uniqueness. It’s the evil one who misleads us into thinking our steps are small. Our God is the God of today (Heb 3). Unbelief comes when we believe the lie that our steps are small. God knows every step. The deceiver looks at your steps and tells you how small they are. Don’t believe it! But your point is spot on. This life is a journey, and today, I am at this place on this path. The real question is who is God going to place in my path, and how am I going to use what He has given me to bring them along (or perhaps them bringing me along!) Remembering that an infinite God is the God of today is kind of a lot to chew on, But the only steps we can take today are today’s…. whether they are small steps or big is not up to us to decide, we just need to keep stepping toward God. Thanks for your dedication and openness in your blog. A lot of folks are being blessed as we step along with you.

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    • Very encouraging. Thank you! And thank you as well for your new perspective on the concept of small steps. I like your thoughts on it. I think for me, everything is measured. But that doesn’t mean God measures. Interesting thoughts. God bless you.

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  2. Hi, You words are very simple in their inspirations. I am a very late to faith being brought up in an athiest family. I am still learning. I have found the MOST joy has recently been with my new friends within the church and the lives I am now part of, from the Youth Hub we began last year to a new Health venture I am about to embark upon with my minister. Keep writing and I will keep listnening.. x

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    • Thank you for the encouragement! I will definitely keep writing. I’m also inspired by your acceptance of faith after being raised in an atheist family. That requires such an open mind, but also makes for a very unique witness when the time comes to share it. Thanks for reading.

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  3. Great post as usual, bro. Taking small steps, obeying God one day at a time, led us here to Charlotte where our lives have been completely rocked. We do things now that we would never have even given a second thought about 3 years ago. Faith is like a muscle. It’s not going to get any bigger if we don’t exercise it. You can’t have perfect abs overnight. It takes time. It takes small steps. Great stuff, man.

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    • Althought I’m not yet where you are, it is true that I am doing things now that I never would have considered five years ago. So these little steps are taking me somewhere. But are you sure about the abs thing??? ‘Cause I would really love to get me some abs overnight.

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  4. Dear JV – Amen bro! I saw another similar piece of thinking recently and that also made my heart sing: http://lifereference.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/its-the-little-things/ You and DM should talk 🙂

    Living a life each day with stuff for others were my small steps. Volunteering. Driving others. Standing up and stepping out (of my comfort zone). Being committed and being caring. The driving I do – these people are close to meeting the lord in their own lives. I might or might not make a difference, That is not my reason. My reward is doing and keeping on doing.

    Listening for being led is important now in my life. I was led to a church a couple of years ago – the local evangelical church. Making myself known and visible and “attached”. After two Sundays finding I was in the methodist church (I don’t listen very well!). Accepting the lord knew best and staying put. Taking “kndergarden steps” – and finding myself asking questions, having conversations, being “difficult” in a gentle way, resisting becoming a “member”, being sure that regular weekly attendance was not that important, and becoming a catalyst for god-lead developments. Writing my blog and finding others reading it. Introducing it to my extended family. Making connections and learning. BEing led and listening gently. And thinking “that’s not me five years ago” – and knowing “that is me now – where he take me in the next five”.

    I wonder if small steps never become bigger steps. Because bigger steps are still just small steps when he leads you. That is the wonder of the lord in me.

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    • You know, you raise an interesting question. Perhaps after a life of small steps which get increasingly larger over time we just don’t see the steps getting bigger. What the world would describe as radical abandonment is just another small stretch for us since we’re so used to being stretched. I checked out and followed your blog. Awesome stuff.

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      • I remember watching a plasterer do our wall. It was like watching an artist. Effortless, inspirational, and “perfect” to my untrained eyes. To “be him” would be a massive earth-moon step for me – impossible. To him it was just another “day at the office”. Small steps.

        (And all this unexpected praise is doing my small steps the power of good! Thank you)

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