rebelling against low expectations

The Nearer I Get the Bigger He Becomes


In his book, The Glory of Christ, Peter Lewis shares a story told by a pastor he heard preach in Wales. When the pastor was about twelve he idolized a local rugby player. He literally papered the walls of his bedroom with newspaper clippings and photos, and loved to talk about the athlete’s exploits on the field. The pastor shared:

Then, when I was about 14-years-old, I got to know my hero personally! He was a keen angler and I used to go fishing with him. On these occasions I was able to observe him from an entirely different viewpoint and got to know the man, not merely the image. And the nearer I got the smaller he became.

But God eventually led that downcast schoolboy to a new hero. And I have walked with my Jesus for thirty-five years now. In that time I have often disappointed him, but he has never disappointed me! I have got to know him better, and the nearer I get the BIGGER he becomes.

I first heard this story at the Next conference (aka, New Attitude) last week. In his message on the preeminence of Christ, my older brother Joshua commented: “The more we learn of Jesus the bigger and more glorious he becomes in our eyes. To one extent or another everyone and everything in this sinful world will let us down. The closer we get the smaller and less appealing it will become. But the closer we get to Jesus the more beautiful and worthy we’ll discover that he is.”

Has this been your experience? If not, could it be that you are distant from Christ? Do not despair, but cry out to God. The psalmist writes, “When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!” (Psalm 65:3-4).

If you would like a bigger vision of Jesus I highly recommend downloading and listening to the (free) messages from Next. Start with the messages on Christ’s preeminence and life (by Josh and Kevin DeYoung, respectively). All of the messages stirred my heart with new affections for my Savior.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • C.S. Lewis also talks about this in Prince Caspian. When Lucy meets Aslan again, she tells him he’s grown. He replies that he has not changed, but the bigger [more mature, better] she gets, the bigger he seems.

  • Wow!
    I’ve had similar experiences in my own life. The results are always pitiful when we try to idolize people or things. Even if they are godly, they are not God. With me I was becoming so attached to my friends at church. I lost every single one. Not one remained my friend. I went through a friendless period for two years. In those two years, I discovered the joy of praying. I hadn’t prayed to God, aside from when I needed His help, since I was a little girl. Now I have many wonderful friends who are far better than the ones I had! Now I can honestly say that God is more important to me than ANYBODY. Anyway, I’ll try and listen to those messages.
    God Bless,
    Kay Morris

  • Wow! It’s so true! Sometimes, we think someone is so great, but when we actually spend time with them, we realize they’re really not! Only Jesus can get bigger when we become closer to Him.

    I’m going to download them all. I really wanted to go, but I’m only 15. 🙁

  • “The more we learn of Jesus the bigger and more glorious he becomes in our eyes. To one extent or another everyone and everything in this sinful world will let us down. The closer we get the smaller and less appealing it will become. But the closer we get to Jesus the more beautiful and worthy we’ll discover that he is.”

    How true. Thanks for the post guys!

    Sarah 🙂

  • Thats a great one for me since I offen have to deal with Obsessions with Books,Tv show,Movies, People you name it My sister Hates it every time I git into one and I try to stop thinking about it and my Obsession soon turns in to I really Like that Book instead of I’m super Obsessed with that book

  • Wow, that is so true!
    Thanks guys, I have never thought about my relationship with Christ in that way. But now that I look back on my journey with Christ I realize how BIG he has become, and also how small and insignificant I have become in my own eyes.

    My prayer is that when people look at me they won’t see just me, but Christ in me and surrounding me!

  • Amen! Yeah, I know when I began to read God’s Word more, it was as though the more I read, the more I wanted to read, and the more I knew, the more I knew I didn’t know! (If that makes any sense!) God does get bigger to us the more we know Him! He is so much more amazing to me now than He was three years ago, and I am so excited to know Him even more in the next three years! Thanks for putting up this post!

  • That was an excellent message, and such a true statement. Reminds me of Lucy from Prince Caspian. When she saw Aslan again, she said:
    “You’re bigger”
    And he said “That is because you are older, little one.”
    And then she replied “Not because you are?”
    “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

    I love that.
    Thank you for posting on this. So good.

  • I thought of something else as I read that…..the nearer I get, the smaller I realize I am. When I draw closer to Jesus, I reminded of my favorite line from the film “Amazing Grace” : I am only aware of two things–that I am a sinner and that Christ is a Great Savior.

    Great reminder, Brett

  • Hey, great Narnia quote! I personally think that I’m the biggest Chronicles of Narnia fan out there (of the books anway, not so much the movies), but I forgot about that part! By the way, did you (Johanna and Katherine) get that quote from the movie or the book? Just wondering. Anway, great story! It definitley reminded me that I need to draw nearer to Christ…and maybe away from C.S. Lewis!;)


  • I too am a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia. In my edition of Prince Caspian, the quoted passage of dialogue is found toward the end of Chapter 10 “The Return of the Lion”.

  • The Next conference stirred up new affection in my soul for my great Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Indeed, the more closer we come in fellowship with the Lord, the greater and deeper our appreciation for Him grows.

  • I definitaly agree with you on that!
    The closer I get to God, the more beautiful, powerful, loving and amazing he seems!
    It’s just amazing!

  • Hope it didn’t hurt too much, Brett! Why didn’t you and Alex do it together? You could have given each other emotional support. 😉
    Kay Morris

  • I was reading a book called Uncensored and J.Mayo quotes; “God is more interested in your direction than in your perfection.” This totally relates to Lewis’ article when he mentioned; “I have walked with my Jesus for thirty-five years now… I have often disappointed him, but he has never disappointed me!” This just shows that we all fall short of God’s glory and that’s perfectly fine because Jesus said; “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    Sometimes we allow the enemy to make us feel bad about messing up. And when this happen, we feel so unworthy to serve the Lord. But God’s not like that at all, he forgives us only if we asked sincerely, and repent from it. We were never worthy in the first place. But that’s how much God loves us. And he’s definitely big enough to forgive us from our mess ups!

  • I was wondering when wisdom from Next was going to surface, it certainly provided a lot of food for thought and discussion. God did use that conference to draw me closer to Himself, and as a result, He did become bigger to me. I hope that process never stops.
    I’d never though about it quite that way, but other things do become smaller on closer acquaintance. The first time I traveled outside the U.S. for example, the whole world suddenly seemed smaller, and travel itself looked a little less fascinating. Everything in this world that looks good to us is fallen, and can never really deliver the happiness it promises. Only God can do that.

  • Oh, wow. That is really, really cool! Yeah, it is amazing just how big He can get. (Thanks to whoever pointed out the bit about Aslan in Prince Caspian; you made a Lewis fan happy.)
    Oh-so-glad I can download the messages, since I didn’t get to go to Next. Thanks for posting this!!

  • I have been struggling with my closeness to God. But God has been working with me. I’m reminded of that verse that says, If any man lacks anything he should ask God. I need to do more of that.

  • That is so true. I have been finding it out more and more lately. Every time I try to latch onto something in the world, and it always lets me down. And then I realize that God can never be compared to it, because He is so much better. It reminds me of the verse that says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Completely perfect. I find so much comfort in that.

  • Thanks Katherine! To be honest, it drives me crazy when people quote the N. movies but have never actually read the series.
    It might go without saying, but I am a really big Lewis fan! 😉 I often “envy” his profound, and usually over-my-head, ideas. I always have to remind myself that God, my God, is the one who inspired C.S. Lewis! This post is really great!


    P.S. I’ll try not to comment anymore on this post!

  • Brett and Alex, I really enjoyed the “Greenhouse” article in Court Report. I know this is off topic, but could you explain “The Solomon” in more depth I found it to be very interesting and I would like to know more about it!

  • Great post!

    God does seem bigger the more you get to know him, and I seem smaller. 🙂 Much smaller.

    Ugh, I’m really hoping I don’t have to get my wisdom teeth out! Hope you feel better soon, Brett! I’m curious, why does the twitter update say it was Brett’s “Turn”? Did you already get yours out, Alex?


  • That’s really awesome! What a great encouragement to others to want to know Christ more! 😀

  • Camille, the efficacy of the Prince Caspian quote is actually removed in the movie: Lucy says Aslan is bigger, and he says something like “So are you”. I actually shrieked out loud at that moment. 😀 It’s worth noticing, and wondering why the director/screenwriter changed that quote, since it was obviously intentional!

  • Yeah, I did notice that when, in Prince Caspian, they included actual quotes from the book, it always seemed kind of rushed, I guess maybe direct lines from the book didn’t fit in with the flow of the movie. I was shrieking at a lot of moments too, and not just the Hag and Warewolf scene! Oh well. Movies like The Chronicles of Narnia will never be perfect unless we make them ourselves! 🙂

    Once again, Camille

  • Hello Camille,

    I admire your passion for The Chronicles of Narnia. While I personally am not enthused enough over the series to want to make a movie, I believe someone could. In today’s society there is much emphasis on the professions: medicine, law, etc. This is all well and good; doctors and lawyers provide a vital service to society. That said, we also need: musicians, filmmakers, etc. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts Camille.

  • Thanks Incognita! I hope no one is getting sick of them! I love acting/making movies with my brother, but I’m not sure if that’s what God wants me to do, right now it’s more like a fun hobby. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Hi. My name is Maggie and I have just started reading your book “DO HARD THINGS” in a bible study for the 6th graders through the 9th graders girls at my church. We’re just starting part 2. I love how you use Elphants in part 1. It’s very interesting.

  • Excellent website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!

rebelling against low expectations

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