Which way of learning or thinking are you most comfortable with? Do you like to see the “big picture” before you sort out how the parts fit in? Or do you like to proceed bit by bit? If you were dropped in a strange town what would you do first: buy a map or simply walk about?
I picked up an interesting conversation on the radio about the use of Sat Navs in cars. The suggestion was that Sat Navs are discouraging us from seeing the bigger picture. The driver mindlessly follows instructions, not knowing or caring about the geography of the route, until the destination is reached. A bit of an exaggeration? Probably.
I would say that most of us benefit from a balanced approach. We are helped by seeing the bigger picture AND we are helped by building things up piece by piece.
The bigger Christian picture looks something like this. We are all to some extent alienated from God and from each other. God loves us and wants to bring us into harmony with himself and our fellow human beings. Jesus reveals to us God’s love and achieves the needed reconciliations for us through his life, death and resurrection. He sends his Holy Spirit so that it all keeps on happening. Of course, every big picture is flawed, and this is especially true of the Christian big picture because it is so profound and hard to put in words.
The piece-by-piece approach is achieved by our daily/weekly/monthly exposure to worship and Christian living. Children are mainly learning in this way.
So... we need both approaches. If the bigger picture seems too remote or complicated allow yourself to be supported by a one-day-at-a-time approach. If the piecemeal approach causes you to stumble (perhaps because a Bible reading seems to jar, or someone in the church is talking while you are trying to pray) turn to the big picture!