Life is full of choices and often the most important are so small they are overlooked. The big picture looms ever before us, and for Christians that picture usually takes the form of getting to heaven. But I contend that that vision falls short of the truest goal of all: becoming like Christ, so that we can endure entering his presence, so that we can desire being in his presence, so that we can lose ourselves in his presence for all time. Losing is not to say that we cease to exist, but that our existence becomes a trifling to us, compared to the One we have devoted all our strivings to see.
To get to that goal a staggering journey awaits us, though the steps that lead us there can be tiny. Some can march forth in great strides. Others progress along the way like a cheetah in full gallop. Most of us toddle, stumble, fall and rise again, not always pointing in the right direction, but erect and moving...somewhere. We often feel leaden, the horizon never changes before us, or we seem to be swimming upstream and passing the same landmarks over and over again. Somehow we haven't learned a lesson, so it repeats and repeats like a scratched record, until someone lifts the arm to skip the fault.
And each stride, gallop, tottering forward is a death of sorts, leading to the last death--the veil that separates us from our goal. What impedes our progress? Our own free-will making choices that either help us or hinder us. The big picture choices are often easy to make. It's the little ones that annoy us like a buzzing mosquito that we feel we shouldn't have to endure. We slap and wave off and fuss, but it's still there waiting for a chance to land unawares and be nourished at our expense. If we would just be patient and let it land, then we can pick it off. A little death of a mosquito, a little death of impatience.
What other little deaths do we encounter? A death to the need to be right. A death to indulging ourselves too much. A death to criticizing. A death to anger at receiving criticism. A death to love of possessions. A death to rebellion against aging, failing health, lack of success, authority.. Death can come in small packages. Let's not overlook the opportunity to be remade into the image of God's only Son, who embraced little deaths daily and the final death on the cross for us.