STEP BY STEP
by Matt Rule
I hate instruction manuals. There are few things on the planet that I dislike more than having to read instructions before starting a project. Maybe it’s the fine print or the confusing pictures, or the weird techno-speak (my apologies to all of my engineer friends). What I would much rather do is figure out everything in my mind first, then bypass steps 1-14, and jump to the final step! The truth is that it’s my impatience and fear that keep me from slowly and systematically following the step-by-step guide. My mind just isn’t wired that way. I get lost and confused, sometimes even angry. While my tendency is to want to jump to the final step, I know that following the instructions for each step is the only way to get there.
The same thing is true of my walk with Christ. I wish I was on step fifteen, smiling and happy, without having to spend the time—and sometimes experience the pain—of steps one, two, three, four, and so on. However, in my walk with Christ I must learn to take the first step before God moves me to the next one. With regards to a man's pursuit of Jesus, Oswald Chambers writes,
“If he desires knowledge and insight into the teachings of Jesus Christ, he can only obtain it through obedience. If spiritual things seem dark and hidden to me, then I can be sure that there is a point of disobedience somewhere in my life.” (Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
If your spiritual vision seems cloudy, the voice of the Lord seems faint, and the path of God’s will for you seems obscured, stop and ask if there is some step you have skipped over, some area and some way in which you have yet to obey God. Maybe in your relationship with your wife and kids. Maybe in your willingness to confess sin and seek authentic brotherhood with godly men. Maybe in your generosity with your time and money through your local church.
We all fall into the trap of thinking that we will move ahead simply by learning new information rather than obeying toward transformation.
When Jesus called the disciples he didn’t lay out every path they would walk and fully explain all the details of what they would experience. He didn’t reveal all the particulars in which they would serve and suffer for the advancement of the Kingdom. He simply called them to obediently follow him. That’s the mark of a true disciple—he is humbly, fully, and confidently obeying the last command the Lord gave him. Then, the next. Then, the next. And so on, and so on ...
What steps have you skipped over? What step do you need to go back and obey today?