Immediately after sending the text message I was confronted by a moral dilemma. Honestly, I felt a little silly at the triviality of it. I was running late to a meeting and said I would only be five minutes late. But that wasn’t the truth. Having driven the same route on a weekly basis, I knew exactly how long it would take. It would take me fifteen minutes. So why did I send a message knowing it was wrong?
Catch the Little Foxes
We are called to obey God — even in the small things.
Circumstances test our integrity every day. It often seems easier to lie about a situation than to tell the truth. My coworkers won’t care if it’s not an exact estimation. Surely, they’ll give a little extra measure of grace knowing I’m a little later than anticipated. What’s a few additional minutes? Stretching the truth in this situation isn’t really that big of a deal.
In fact, the world would have us think that these sorts of things are not only acceptable, but necessary. If we knowingly deceive, saying, “No, officer, I don’t know how fast I was going” — we are told that it is less likely we get a traffic ticket. It seems as though it was just an innocent mistake. If we’re drawn into that popular TV show that looks a little risqué, we’re not really committing an egregious sin. It’s just a small indulgence that keeps you relevant and culturally up-to-date. Or so we tell ourselves.
But Song of Solomon 2:15 tells us that it is “the little foxes that spoil the vineyards.” Little areas of our life feel so minuscule and unimportant. It’s easy to dismiss these things as inconsequential, if not petty, in the grand scope of things. Undoubtedly, following God’s ways is certainly about obedience in bigger things, but it is also about choosing to submit to his will in the little details.
Small Things Matter
Jesus said in Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” One major thing to notice about this passage is that faithfulness to God’s commands matter, regardless of how we judge the relative significance of that particular command.
When we start to calculate the scale of the sin in comparison to the immediate consequence, we miss the point. Our primary aim in these ostensibly small things should be obedience to a Father whose glory is at stake and who knows what’s best for us.
It’s hard to persevere in patience with rebellious children. When you get cut off in traffic, the temptation to give in to anger is right there. Using flattery to get ahead in work or at school is seductive. Even something as small as maintaining honesty when submitting work reports is greatly important to our walk with God. It is very easy to dismiss these things as insignificant. But it is not primarily about the magnitude of the sin, it is about the magnitude of the Savior.
Everyday conformity to God’s will is an invitation to enjoy God even more. We are often tempted to see God’s commands as arduous restrictions on our happiness. However, 1 John 5:3 tells us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” Instead, we are to view his instructions as countless opportunities to trust God again. We should see these little things as God’s beckoning us to delight in him in even greater ways.
No Ceiling to God-Grounded Joy
This daily reliance on God for joy in the small things of life allows him to become more precious to us. It creates channels of delight, and it demonstrates his power working in the more mundane things of our daily experience.
We will sometimes foolishly think choosing our own ways will bring us greater joy. However, any choice that is against or opposed to the revealed will of God will ultimately bring ruin and misery, either quickly or (far more often) slowly over time. In the moment, it may seem like that seemingly small act — the little white lie or shortcut off the prescribed path — will provide us exactly what we need. Yet, that little resistance against God will bring more sorrow than comfort or convenience.
God does not place a ceiling on our happiness. There are no limits to your joy when it is grounded in God. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” God’s grace is intended to sustain you in every small detail of your life. Let us notice and jump on these little opportunities to find more joy in our big God each day.