Every so often I find that a word or phrase will jump out at me. It’s often a phrase that I have used. When it starts to resonate and even shout at me from someone else’s lips, a podcast or download then I find it’s best to take notice and find out what God is trying to say. This week it was the phrase “baby steps”.
‘So what is wrong with “baby steps”?’ I asked as the phrase began to hit a sour note. It’s good to make changes slowly and it’s a phrase that denotes growth. It is wise to walk slowly at times and not rush into things. When things are new we don’t want to go too far or commit too much and get hurt, hurting others in the process. There is wisdom in “baby steps”.
BUT, and it is a big but, be careful, I have realised that this phrase can be used as an excuse. If God is asking you to walk away from sin then do not use “baby steps” as an excuse. ‘leave your life of sin’ Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery (John 8) . Preachers please think before you use “baby steps” to make a hard message more palatable (yes that was the final clashing note that got my attention).
We lie to ourselves and to others if we think “baby steps” will help when a decisive decision and change is required. Perhaps we don’t like what our boss is suggesting; what a health professional is recommending or our Father in heaven is talking to us about. Perhaps it seems radical and hard. Granted there are situations where “small steps would be wise” but we are not babies learning to walk again. When our Lord and Saviour convicts us of sin, recommends a course of action or gives us a direction we need to learn to turn with total conviction and walk away onto the recommended path. Joseph fled from Pharaohs wife, he didn’t walk. This was a new situation for him. He didn’t consider trying to argue with her or hanging around to see what happened. He turned round and removed himself as fast as he could. He followed God’s instructions, trusting in the wisdom of His word. Baby steps would just not have had the same outcome.
What are we really talking about? Submission is the word that comes to mind. When we submit to the will of God, when we acknowledge the wisdom of health professionals or the authority of those we work for, we are submitting: laying down our ideas and our right to run our lives our way.
Being disciples of Jesus we are uniquely positioned, poised in submission; ready to take on all that Jesus has for us. Let us remain ready to step decisively in a different direction or take on new instructions when correctly asked of us. Let us not hesitate or hold back just because something is new or uncomfortable. Let us be honest with ourselves and others, and may “baby steps” not be an excuse to linger from change.
Written by Jane Reynolds