Have you ever been frustrated at the slow rate of growth in your Christian life? Have you ever complained at how all your efforts to break with sin never seem to pay off? Have you ever been depressed at how, despite all the hours and energy you put into your work, you just don’t see your work improving?
Of course you have. We all have. But the result of no results is not only discouragement; it also depresses our continued effort towards growing in grace and mortifying sin.
Well, let some examples in James Clear’s best-selling book, Atomic Habits, encourage you.
- An ice cube in a room at 25 degrees does not melt. If we turn up the heat one degree at a time, nothing happens at 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31 degrees. But at 32 the ice begins to melt. Just one more degree and a huge transformation occurs.
- Bamboo spends five years underground and then explodes 95 feet into the air in six weeks.
- Cancer spends 80% of its life undetectable and then takes over the body in months.
- Tectonic plates can grind against one another for hundreds of years with no visible results, until one day an earthquake erupts as the plates rupture the earth.
Similarly, says Clear, habits seem to make no difference for ages until a critical threshold is crossed and a new level of performance is achieved:
“Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change” (20).
At times all our work seems wasted because we make no breakthrough. But it’s not wasted. It’s just being stored for release at the moment of breakthrough.
Moreover, the Christian has even more incentive than behavioral science to persevere in our pursuit of growth, holiness, and talent multiplication. We have the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, we have hope in God to encourage us, and we have the almighty sovereignty of God that can effect breakthrough moments far sooner than anyone might expect or predict
So, keep persevering Christian. You may be just one degree away from a life-changing breakthrough in growth, in sanctification, and in usefulness.