“Taking the Next Step”
Quite often in Scripture God uses "walking" as a means of illustrating a basic function of the Christian Life. Consider these examples in Paul's letter to the Ephesians (taken from the NASB):
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that
we should walk in them." (Eph.
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called..." (Eph.
"This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk
no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind..." (Eph.
"...and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." (Eph.
"...for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk
as children of light..." (Eph.
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise
men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." (Eph.
If you want to go on a hiking trip it's a good idea to plan ahead. It would be wise to do some research about the trail: e.g. what is the terrain like, what are the hazards to avoid? It would be wise to make sure you have enough food and water. It would be helpful to have proper gear, like a tent and good shoes. But ultimately, your hiking trip will only be successful if you get up and start
walking. It's a complete waste of time to plan a trip and then sit around talking about hiking instead of getting up and going!
And yet we do this all the time in the church. It's embarrassing how much we Christians sit around and talk about what it means to live the Christian Life instead of actually enjoying the Life of Christ. Paul tells us in the verses above that God has prepared good works for us to walk in, or in other words, He has given us the strength - by His Holy Spirit - to obey Him as He directs our steps. He has rescued us from walking step by step down the dead-end roads of greed and lust and superstition, and instead has reminded us that we are His children and can now walk in love with Him and others. He has enabled us to walk wisely, carefully choosing each step so that we don't trip over the roots of pride or bitterness or get stuck in a mud-bog of self-pity. He is faithful to guide us one step at a time down the path of life.
What is the next thing you need to do? Apologize for hasty words, for things done or not done? Serve a seemingly ungrateful family member? Give a word of encouragement or correction to a brother or sister in Christ? Make a difficult moral decision in your workplace? God has made provision for you to do that thing in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Do you believe that? Whatever the next step is, walk
in confidence that the Risen Lord Jesus is strengthening you with His very Life.
In this way, you will be walking in a manner that pleases the Lord - one of total humility and dependence. You will be walking as wise children of the light and not unwise. You will be walking! Perhaps you will get bruised and scraped up along the trail, but our God is all-powerful to heal as well, and He will cause you to grow into maturity as His child.
Whatever the next step is…take it and trust the Lord Jesus with the results.
Written by Christine Wichert
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