Step By Step

Paul’s practical advice on how to live well keeps coming back this week: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) And I used to be a runner, so I understand that the way to run any course is to put one foot in front of the other– just one more step, then another, and keep your eyes on the path ahead of you, keep breathing steadily, and don’t give up. I guess it never occurred to me that the simple mechanics of running could be applied so literally to a complex life.

But the metaphor comes to mind over and over this week, to just take the next step. Do the right thing in the present circumstances. In each present set of circumstances. Because in that moment I have the power (the will, creativity, energy, freedom) to choose and to act. Dedicated Christ-followers of previous centuries called it “sanctifying the moment,” recognizing that in our present circumstances lay the power of free will: submit this to God, or seize it for self….listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit or do it my way….trust His goodness and His Plan, or let worry and fear drive my thoughts….do what is right to glorify God, or do what is comfortable/easy/pleasant. And in this present moment is where the power of God meets me, where His presence surrounds me, where I can hear His voice if I listen. Some days it is the only way to “run and not grow weary…walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31), but I suspect all of us runners would benefit from the application of simple running mechanics in the everyday.

Do the right thing, right now.

My kids used to wear these wristbands that said WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). At the time it was a whole movement, the letters cropping up on the backs of trucks and the fronts of shirts. For a literal-minded person it could be mildly irritating and at times downright stressful, because apart from the principle of imitating a good example, it was simply too difficult to say for sure what vehicle Jesus would drive or what foods He would prefer. (My son’s utter practicality and good humor pointed out that Jesus would eat whatever was put in front of Him.) But the crux of the matter, and what we really need to consider, is what Jesus wants us to do in any situation. What is the right, God-honoring thing to do, in this set of circumstances? Just do it. And then take the next step.


“The only thing you can really control is the present– the actual moment that is passing by. Sanctify that from hour to hour, and you sanctify your whole life….The little act of obedience, love, self-restraint, meekness, patience, devotion, offered to you actually, is all you can do now, and if you neglect that to fret about something else at a distance, you lose your real opportunity of serving God.” (H.L.Sydney Lear)


“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
(Philippians 4:13)