Many of you will have heard today’s scripture expounded from the pulpit at some time in your life. It is one of those famous faith verses from Hebrews 11, wedged between a commendation of Enoch and Noah, that easily catches your attention. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’, we read, and perhaps respond to, with a disheartened sigh. No doubt there have been times in all of our lives when our ‘faith tanks’ have been running low and our ‘worry’ or ‘doom and gloom’ tanks have been overflowing. This may not be how God has called His children to live, but part of our experience, nevertheless.
The writer reminds us, in Hebrews 11, that by faith Abraham became the father of many sons, Moses delivered Israel from slavery and Rahab hid the spies. They, and many others, are commended for their faith. And so they should be! After all, they were sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they did not yet see (Hebrews 11:1). Follow their lead! we are exhorted, over and over again, and we want to, because we truly want to please God. Interestingly, these men and women of faith that the writer of Hebrews brags enthusiastically about were also simple clay pots like you and me. They didn’t follow God without faltering, and their faith muscles grew over time, as they took small steps forward and flexed them. God honoured their faith steps and grew them into the men and women commended for their faith.
I believe that one of the most important steps in any journey is the first one taken, because it sets the direction. These faithful individuals set out in the direction of faith and then the waters parted, barren wombs conceived, and ungodly kingdoms toppled.
Are you looking down at your seemingly small steps of faith and despising them? Please don’t, because I believe that God sees them in a different light. Just as an excited parent celebrates the faltering, first steps of their toddler, so God rejoices in ours.
When we fall backwards unsteadily and land on our bottoms, He doesn’t scold us mercilessly. Instead He reaches down, picks us up and stand us up on wobbly legs. “Have another go”, He encourages, knowing that our faith muscles are growing with every faltering step. Before we know it, your tiny step has turned into two or four or six and you find ourselves on the opposite side of the room. It could be that you find yourself preaching that sermon, embarking on that mission trip or believing for that miracle. Be encouraged! You are a mighty man or woman of faith in the making. Small, age appropriate steps do please God.
Prayer: Father God, I want to be a pleasing child who takes steps of faith, instead of shrinking back in unbelief or fear. Thank You that You don’t despise my little steps and are growing me in faith. I am not quite where I want to be yet, but I am committed to the journey and I aim to keep my eyes on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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