Thursday, June 11, 2015

Take that Step: Healthier, stronger, and moving forward

Jimmy recently downloaded a fitness app on his phone. Among its many “smart” capabilities, it tracks the number of steps he takes each day. I guess we can add pedometer to the list of many gadgets now replaced by smartphones. The health and fitness app guided him through setting up a series of health goals, including how far he’d like to walk each day. He set the goal at 10,000 steps/day.

Health and fitness aren’t going to just happen in our lives. We won’t wake up some morning and find we’ve arrived at a certain weight, cholesterol level, or body mass index unless we take regular, active steps to make them reality.

We all know walking is a good, safe option to help us achieve our desired health and fitness goals. As we walk, we become stronger, healthier, and reach our destination.

I started thinking about these three outcomes that walking has on our lives after I posted last week’s article, Don’t Stand Still. The American church is familiar with a phenomenon we call pew sitters. They are people who come to church, sit in the pew for the sermon, and leave again with no real impact on their lives. Well, last week I classified another group of us – the standers. We’re involved in a few activities, have some Christian influence outside the church building, and try to live a fairly good life.

Maybe you read that article. Maybe you thought, “Isn’t that what we call the Christian walk? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?” Maybe you’re right.

But I think there’s more.

Think about that app Jimmy downloaded on his phone. After several weeks of use, yesterday he finally reached his goal of 10,000 steps in one day. It didn’t happen because he sat at his desk all day nor did it happen because he stood around talking. He reached that goal because he was up, moving, getting things done, and being active.

When we walk, we become healthier, stronger, and we move forward. That’s why I see a difference between those who are spiritually standing still and those who are spiritually walking. I see lots of us doing a lot of Christian things each day but we’re not becoming healthier, stronger, or moving forward.


We all deal with stuff; you know, the baggage we carry around due to bad experiences in our past. We have those experiences because we live in a messed up world that does everything it can to fight God’s design.

God’s Word doesn’t lay out a twelve-step program for overcoming drug addiction. It doesn’t give us three steps to recovering from divorce. You can’t turn to a certain page and find out exactly how to deal with various forms of child abuse, depression, or negative self-image.

But, if we’re walking with God – rather than sitting or standing still – then we’re going to become mentally and spiritually healthier as we learn to let go of the baggage that weighs us down. We’re going to be in an active, growing relationship with the one who can bring health through prayer and an understanding of various Scriptures. We’re going to see truth in His Word come to life in a way we never would have believed possible.


We’re all unsure; we all have doubts. We all look at the path that lies before us and feel inadequate to the job. Our weakness overwhelms us.

The Bible doesn’t give us a mathematical formula to incorporate faith into our life. It doesn’t promise trust will come to those who say a certain prayer. The Bible doesn’t give power to those who at most skim through its topics.

But, if we’re walking with God – rather than sitting or standing still – then we’re going to become mentally and spiritually stronger. We’ll see God work in our circumstances even in the midst of our hard times; our faith will grow as we realize His strength will be sufficient for us in future trials. We will face impossible situations with the recognition that our only option is to trust Him. It will make us almost sick to our stomachs as we empty the situation of our own ability and trust completely in Him. And yet, we’ll look back and know that is when the trust in our relationship grew stronger. We will face insurmountable odds; rather than become weak and overwhelmed, we will remember a Bible verse we studied and claim its power and authority for that moment. We will see the power of God work mightily in our lives to conquer and destroy that which would hold us back from all God desires.

Move Forward

We all want to stay where we are because everything is safe, secure, and familiar. We know what to expect and how everything works in our current location. It’s easy to stand still because it doesn’t require us to stretch ourselves or step out into the unknown.

But, if we’re walking with God – rather than sitting or standing still – then we’re going to move forward. We’re going to look back 5 or 10 years and realize we’re closer to God now than we were then. Our spiritual illnesses and weaknesses will be fewer and farther behind us than they once were. We’re going to look forward with excitement, trust, and faith at where God might lead us. We’ll look forward and see that God didn’t seem as far away as He once did.

Take that Step

God gave us everything we need to start a revolution of love… an overflow of hope… an explosion of faith. But we’re not going to see any of it until we change some things in our own lives. God gave us a message of faith, hope, and love with which to transform the world, starting with ourselves. We won’t have the privilege of seeing that message go anywhere until we stop standing still and start walking – to become healthier, stronger, and closer to Him who gave His life to deliver us.

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