The Step Before The "Step of Faith"
I'm scared of heights.
It's a (very ironic) fact of my life.
The edge of canyons, the top of the Empire State Building, those "cool" glass floors on the top floors of buildings - they all increase my heart rate just thinking about them.
Which is why I never expected to find myself 40 feet above a body of water preparing to jump.
Another fact: I'm not always good with peer pressure.
So when several of my friends decided to go to an old quarry that was now a lake for swimming...and cliff diving...I couldn't say no.
But then we got to the quarry and walked up to the edge of the cliff, and I almost vomited.
That's quite a high jump...
One by one all my friends took turns jumping off the cliff into the chilled water below and I soon found myself next to last.
Somehow (I'm not quite sure how) I ended up jumping off that cliff - twice! (And screamed like a little baby all the way down both times.)
As I surfaced from below the water after my second jump, I was filled with joy (and some adrenaline) with one of my first real attempts at leaning into fear.
At various points throughout our time on earth we are faced with the end of one chapter of our lives and the start of another.
It could be the end of high school or college, the start of military service or a new job, or starting or ending a relationship.
More often than not, these transitions require a "step of faith" in order for us to enter into the new chapter of life. These steps of faith will sometimes require courage because you know what you are signing up for - or perhaps it will require courage because you don't fully know what you are signing up for.
Either way, it requires you taking a step of faith similar to Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade" where we must take a step before we know completely where that step will lead us.
It is not until we are a few steps into our new journey - or perhaps farther down the road - that we are able to make out the path we are on.
Yet, for those of us who are followers of Christ, as we take these steps of faith in our lives, there is one other step we must take first.
Let's call it the step before the step. Because in our lives as Christians, when God calls us to take a step of faith and enter a new chapter of our lives we know we don't take that step alone.
We do so only through the power of the Holy Spirit of God in and through us.
The step before the step?
The step before the step of faith is: saturating ourselves with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I've been reminded of this truth recently as my family prepares to move to West Africa in a few weeks. As we enter a new chapter of life and ministry we must make sure our move to serve God in West Africa is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Two challenging passages of Scripture that have been convicting me on this topic recently:
The step before the step of faith is ensuring that we only go where God is leading us to and where His Holy Spirit is going with us as well. Because the only way our steps of faith will work out is if they are in line with where God is wanting us to go.
So we must pray that God's Presence go with us. Be willing to wait until we are "clothed with power from on high." It is only then that we are ready for our step of faith as we embark on the next leg of our journey in life.
We must pray and fast as we ensure that we are filled with and enveloped in God's Holy Spirit. As an individual, family, local community, and global Church.
May we never move ahead without God's presence with us.
So what step of faith are you currently taking?
What step of faith are you about to take?
In your relationships. Your career. Your family. Your friends. Your geographical location or your God-given vocation.
And how are you preparing for that step of faith?
Are you taking the step before the step?
Are you doubling down on your prayer life both individually and with others?
Change is hard. It can sometimes be scary.
It can feel like jumping off a 40-foot cliff.
But when we go with God's Presence - when we take the step before the step - we can move forward in confidence knowing that we are in the center of God's will.