Sunday, December 15, 2013

Your Next Step is Your Most Important Step

Colossians 1:10 pops up in the middle of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians.  In this mid-thought verse he says, "so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."  The easy observation from this verse is that Paul identifies three specific results of walking rightly:

  • our lives will be pleasing to God
  • our lives will be full of the fruit of good works
  • we will be increasing in our knowledge of God (both relational knowledge and factual knowledge)
But can you take a break for a minute and think about the idea of walking?  This isn’t the first time the idea of our life as a walk is discussed in the Bible.  It’s not even the only time Paul uses the analogy.  "Walking" is a common and helpful illustration of the Christian life.

Proverbs talks about our walk a lot.

  • Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
  • Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.
  • The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
  • He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

The New Testament writers also had something to say about how we walk:

  • When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
  • If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.

When you consider the words “steps” and “path” to be synonymous to “walk”, you find more.

  • A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
  • To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
  • The path of life leads upward for the wise to keep him from going down to the grave.
  • Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.

Obviously, all these examples have wonderful truth of which we need to be regularly reminded.  However, they are just a small portion of the many proverbs and teachings we have about the idea of our “walk”, “path”, or “steps”.

Clearly, God is very concerned about WHERE OUR LIFE IS GOING.

Part of the Bible’s stress on walking is that we need to be super-careful about the people with whom we are walking. The people we walk with will impact where we go.

When Marianne and I used to walk our beagle, we would let Emily walk in front of us.  Even though she was securely leashed I think she felt like she was leading us.  The truth is, she didn’t go anywhere we didn’t want to go, and we never ceded directional control to her.  Had we let her set the direction for the walk, we would have never gotten past the fire hydrant in our neighbor’s yard.  Even though she was walking with us, and in front of us, she never influenced where we were going.


One thing to consider when thinking about walking is who is in control of your direction?  If you claim to be walking with God, are you walking where He is going?  Or are you trying to convince Him to go where you want to go?  Why would you ever ask God to “be with you” if you haven’t first surrendered complete control of your life’s direction to him?

One other thought from walking with my wife...  We both went one step at a time.  That seems obvious, but it’s really important.  When you try to take steps that are too big or too fast, you fall down.  When you try to take two steps at once, you fall down.  When you aren’t content to move one-step-at-a-time, you’re cruising for pain and suffering.

The direction God wants you to walk is only one step away.  As Christ said in Matthew 6, "Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries…"  Of course he said that within the context of teaching his friends that they need to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  Jesus’ point was that our worries, cares, and concerns often drive us off the path of righteousness because we believe we need to take care of ourselves.  Our Heavenly Father will handle the details, He just asks that we stay on the right path.

Paul prayed that his friends would continue walking on the right path.  He prayed that they would not be distracted by temptations, worries, or anything else; but rather that they would keep taking the NEXT STEP along the same path that Jesus has already walked for us.

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