Here’s a great extract from Brian Houston’s excellent book, Live Love Lead – on the importance of small choices and remaining focussed.
Often our hardest decisions are the small ones, the incremental ones, the choices that seem harmless enough in the moment. The big temptations we often identify and resist, but the really big issues of life usually begin with small choices. No one wakes up one day and thinks, “Today I’ll settle for less” or “Today I’ll take a break from following God and just wait and see what happens.” No, instead the enemy tends to chip away at us in small moments of weakness. A shortcut here, a compromise there, a quick detour now and then – this is why we must remain focussed on the example Jesus set for us.
Even though he came to earth on a mission as the Son of God, Jesus faced the same temptations that we face, including the temptation to settle. Our enemy tempted Jesus with the same opportunities to settle for less than God’s best that the devil tempts us with today. The scale is different, but the essence of the temptation is basically the same.
In Matthew 4, the devil challenges Jesus to question his very identity. Twice he says, “If you are the Son of God…” Can’t you just hear the taunt there? “If you’re really who you claim to be, then you should be able to turn stones to bread and jump off cliffs!” But Jesus knows how to wield the Sword of Truth, and he resists the devil’s attempt to test him. He responds with just the right counterpoint from Scripture to reveal the devil’s shortsighted, warped logic. “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve'” (v10).
I believe the tempter often challenges us with the same strategy in mind. If he can get us to doubt who we are and what we’re doing, if he can cloud our vision, then he can get us to settle for less than God’s best. He will cause you to question your calling, your best endeavours, and lead you into feeling condemned – questioning your identity in Christ.
These kind of traps attempt to undermine where God is leading us. If we begin doubting our directions, our route, or our destination, then we’ll usually stop to try and sort things out. But once we stop, then it becomes easier and easier to just go the easy way, the path of least resistance. Why worry about accomplishing something that seems impossible when you can just take it easy?
Jesus resisted the devil’s temptations by relying on the truth of God’s Word – our greatest resource. Whenever we begin feeling as if we’re not talented enough or smart enough, that we don’t have enough resources or enough support, that we should lower our expections, then we must return to what God’s Word tells us. The Bible assures us that we can do all things through Christ, that we are more than conquerors. God tells us that he will supply all our needs according to his limitless resources. We have to remember what’s true and not start second-guessing what God has called us to accomplish.