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Next Small Step

Disciples are in motion. Like water that is stagnant for too long, we become sluggish, lifeless, and bogged down when we don’t move. Christ Jesus calls us into life and movement. We lean forward. We take steps. We walk along The Way.

My parent’s house had stepping stones through their various mulch beds and landscaped areas. When I was young I had to leap from one to the next. As I grew, my legs lengthened and I was able to walk along the path laid out for me with great ease. I wish the same was true of faith. Figuring out what you next step is can be really, really hard. And frustrating. Especially with life’s big decisions: Where to go to school; When to seek a new job; Who to marry? If discipleship is about following Jesus, then maybe we can step back from these big decisions and look at smaller, more consistent decisions.

It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Eugene Peterson often declared that discipleship is “A long obedience in the same direction.” He even titled one of his books with these words. In other words, you don’t arrive there in one step. It is a life compiled of many small steps that allows us to walk with Jesus.

So, the question of discipleship–the question of being propelled–is simply this: What is your next, one small step?

Time Sensitive Applications

My discipleship coach, Bill Mowry, often challenged me with a simple question to wrestle with following each time in the word. If what you have just read is true (and it is!), what is one thing that God is calling you to do in the next 24-48 hours to live this truth out in your life?

Here is an example to walk through this concept. First, read Ruth 1:16b “For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

There are a number of themes in this short verse–and they become even more beautiful within the context of Ruth. Some of these themes are Loyalty, Trust, and Faithfulness. So, in light of those themes, what are some possible answers to the key discipleship question: If this is true, what is God calling me to do in the next 24-48 hours? Here are some possible answers:

  • Write down a list of key, faithful friends and pray specifically for them.
  • Send a note, text, or make a call to 1 or 2 people, sharing something to the effect, “I was reading Ruth 1 today, especially verse 16. It made me think of you and how great of a friend you are to me. Can we get a date on calendar to go grab coffee/
  • Ponder the example of faithfulness of someone else–where they have gone and what they have done–and pray about what similar faithfulness might look like for you?
  • “Your people shall be my people” speaks to hospitality. Is there an opportunity for you to host people in some way in the next several weeks? Begin planning now.
  • Maybe it is something as simple as being stirred by God’s word today and your next 24 hours is to return again tomorrow to read and soak in more of God’s truth.

Propelled Forward In Action

Do you see how these applications are not world changers, but they propel you forward in action. God’s Word is most powerful as it speaks truth and calls us into a new reality, a new way of acting. The beauty is that huge course corrections are not really the goal. Instead, the goal is a life of obedience that is shaped by God’s Word over the long haul.

The clock is ticking. What is God calling you towards in the next 24-48 hours?

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