Stepping Up • Part 1

From the Stepping Up Guide – Week 1

Think for a minute about how many times this week you have walked up a staircase. How did you do that? Did you stop at the first step, paralyzed by fear and indecision? Did you ask, “I wonder if this first step will hold me? What if the entire staircase gives way? What if the builder forgot to nail down this one portion of the staircase? What if that first board is rotten?” Probably not. You probably didn’t think at all about it. You stepped on that first step and got to the top as fast as you could. The reason you were able to do this is because that staircase has proven itself reliable over and over again. You could trust the stability of that first step to propel you to the next step. The structural integrity of the staircase has never let you down and shows no signs of letting you down. 

When it comes to steps of faith, we often wrestle with that first step. We have all sorts of reasons to be fearful. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s the wrong decision? What if I regret this decision? What if my bank account does not agree with this decision? What if I heard wrong from God? What if people think I’m crazy? 

We can come up with all sorts of reasons why we should never take that step. But somewhere in the core of our being, we know that we are being asked to take that step. Whether we admit it or not, the reason we often choose not to take that step that we know we should take is because we simply don’t trust God with the unknown. We are committed to control. We can’t imagine stepping out into the unknown because that would be releasing control over every aspect of our lives. One of the saddest storylines imaginable is a person not taking a step of faith and missing out on what God had in store for him. He takes the seemingly safe and comfortable route and ends up on a deeply unsatisfying path. 

That being said, being asked to obey can be very scary and challenging. The one simple truth that moves us from fear to obedience is that we can trust the One who is calling us. God does not detail exactly what will happen if we take that step. He does not say, “Take this step and this is precisely how it will play out.” Instead, He invites us to step into the small and sometimes confusing patch of light, which He has provided. That little patch of light may just be enough for one step. The Word (what God says in the Scriptures) is a lamp unto our feet. It is not a floodlight, lighting miles ahead. 

This journey together over the next five weeks begins with us standing at the bottom of the staircase, looking at that first step. Will it hold me? Can I trust it? Can I make this commitment? 

We saw this weekend that Joshua was a man who God called out to take a step of bold faith. Not only that, but in doing so, he called him to have no fear. How could Joshua take this difficult step of courage without crippling fear? The last phrase in Joshua 1:9 gives him the answer he needs. God tells him “…for the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” The very presence of God is the stability of that first step. God has never failed and He never will. He has always been faithful, even when we were not. He will uphold you when your faith wanes. We can trust in the One who promises to be with us and give us all we need as we obey. 

We can trust Him because of His heart for us. He wants more for us, so He asks more from us. Over the next five weeks, He is inviting us to step up to a place where He is at work. He works in those patches of light where we step into obedience. This week, will you make a commitment to make a commitment? Will you commit to saying, “Yes, use me Lord”?  He is not asking you to get to the top of the staircase in one step. In fact, He has designed it so that you would not know the entire story at the beginning. We most likely could not handle it if we knew all that He knows. If we did, we probably would never take the first step. Instead, He grows us one step at a time. One commitment at a time. It will be amazing to see where He leads us if we just have faith to take this very step in front of us. Are you willing to allow the Lord to use you how He desires? Will you say yes?

True Steps

I didn’t want to take the next step in my spiritual life. I was fine with getting by being an attendee, but God had other plans. Over the course of a few years God placed me in the mix of awesome people with whom I could grow and mature in my faith. They encouraged me and challenged me. When the opportunity came, I had to step up because I did not want to see my spiritual growth dissipate.  It was a heart and mind issue.  Now, the best news is, I have more joy and it’s been a consistent way for me to grow in my relationship with Jesus.

Sean

Personal Reflection

1. At the very beginning of this, will you at least make a commitment to make a commitment?

2. “Stepping Up” for you may simply mean releasing more control of one area of your life. What are you clinging to with white knuckles that you need to release so that you can take a step of faith?

Discussion Questions

1. What was your big takeaway from this past week’s sermon?  How about from this week’s devotional reading?

2. Would you be willing to share with the group how you answered #2 from the Personal Reflection questions?

3. What is the most courageous thing you have ever done in your life? How about today? 

4. What makes it so difficult to step out into the unknown?

5. How have you seen God’s faithfulness in your life and your family’s life? 

6. How is it that understanding who God is helps us take steps of trust? Do you have an example of this in your life? 

7. What would you like to see God do in you personally through these 5 weeks? 

Prayer Devotions

Read – Joshua 1:1-9

Stepping Up to follow what God wants you to do. 

God is faithful. His Word says He will never leave us nor forsake us, just as He promised Joshua. Every time you step up, you play a role in God’s plan. Stepping Up with faith and trusting God today will grow your faith as God asks more from you because He wants more for you. 

Pray – O Lord, I pray to be strong and courageous, just as You have called me to be. I know You will be with me wherever I go so I will trust in Your plan and Your faithfulness to propel me to step up as You call me into action. In Jesus name, Amen.