Constant progress goes hand in hand with spiritual growth. There is no box big enough to contain a healthy Christian. However, even the greatest faith warriors have come upon small places in life at one time or another. There is a big difference between being in a small place and letting that small get inside of you. It’s all about breaking barriers and removing limitations, refusing to conform to those small places in life. Complacency not only breeds depression and remorse, it is the fountainhead of unbelief, the only unforgivable sin. All sins are forgiven by faith, except the sin of unbelief. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said ~ “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin…because they do not believe in Me” (John 16.8-9). The life of faith compels the believer into a life of victory, and there is no victory without a fight. ~ “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1Timothy 6.12).
The Building Stones
Thoughts are more than only random ideas that float through the mind without any reason or consequence. The things that one chooses to think about eventually enter the heart and become what is believed, and the things that are believed in the heart over time become reality in that individual’s life. This is what King Solomon wrote about when he said ~ “For as he thinks in his heart, so [is] he” (Proverbs 23.7). The Holy Spirit directed Solomon to write that people eventually become what they think about, because a thought that is permitted to remain in the heart long enough will ultimately be conceived by faith. It is for this reason that the Bible teaches the Christian to ‘bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ [the word of God].’
The Bible teaches the sincere believer to understand that every thought is capable, over time, to produce itself, like a seed. The Apostle Paul wrote that the sober-minded Christian will cast ~ “…down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2Corinthians 10.5). A good example of this is the patriarch Joseph. As is the case in many families, Joseph was victimized by his brothers because of envy. Joseph was his father’s favorite son, his ten brothers hated him and plotted to kill him. To make matters even worse, Joseph received a prophecy from God that revealed he would one day save the entire family from disaster, which only made his brothers hate him more. The Ten siblings sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt, where he was cast into prison. The Bible says ~ “Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s prisoners [were] confined. And he was there in the prison” (Genesis 39.20).
Refusing to Surrender
As he sat in the jail cell, Joseph remembered the prophecy that God had given him so many years ago, when he was child. He was in a very small place in his life now, and the wounds in his heart and body didn’t seem like they would ever heal. As he debated about his misfortune, it would have been easy for him to begin to think ‘small’ thoughts, thoughts of defeat, failure and hatred. He was in a small in a place, but he refused let that small place get in him. Even though he was in a very small place in life, Joseph refused to let that small place get into his heart. He refused to surrender to the circumstances and begin to think small thoughts of remorse and defeat. Instead, Joseph chose to hold on to the promise God had spoken to him so many years ago. The Bible states that ~ “They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him” (Psalm 105.18,19).
Joseph’s Small Place
The cruel Iron shackles by which he was bound to the floor injured his feet, but Joseph refused to quit dreaming, he refused to stop thinking big, even in that very small jail cell. Did you see notice what the Bible said? It says that the word (promise) of God ‘tested’ him. The promise of God tested whether Joseph would surrender to his lowly state, or whether he would stand strong in faith and refuse to give way to thoughts of doubt and unbelief, and continue to believe the promise of God. The complete story of Joseph is well worth the read and can be found in the book of Genesis; however, for the purpose at hand, all that will be said about Joseph is that by faith he became one of the greatest overcomes in the history of the Bible, by understanding the Biblical connection between one’s thoughts and one’s faith. Jesus said that the thoughts contained in words worked like seeds that were sown in the heart. He said ~ “[It is] like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade” (Mark 4.31,32). Decide today to live independent of your circumstances, regardless of how small your place in life may appear—you are going to ‘think big in small places.’ You are not going to conform to the devil’s plans; you are going to keep moving forward toward God’s plan for your life, as He has expressed in His promises, and then — get ready because God has said to those who keep the faith ~ “Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter end would increase abundantly” (Job 8.7).
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it [spring] the issues of life.
© L. Jonathan Blais 2021 All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.