The first step is always the hardest.
The entire bible could be read as a book of ‘first steps.’ The Bible describes both the positive and negative outcomes of taking that first step in detail. It also includes stories of people who did not take their first steps and decided to back track or jump the track all together. There are benefits and consequences. They had to decide which one they wanted to manage. They also were very much aware that God called them to go and do something that always required them to build trust in His provision and grace. They all experienced multiple levels and opportunities to make sacrifices along the way.
1. One Israelite slave needed to take that first step into the Red Sea!
2. Moses had to take his first step toward the Holy Mountain.
3. Joshua and Caleb failed to convince the Israelites to go into the Promised Land the first time—they were sure to be successful the second time!
4. David had to take his first step toward becoming a leader when he faced Goliath.
5. Elisha needed to take his first step as he followed Elijah.
6. Mary had to take the first step toward becoming the mother of the Messiah.
7. Peter had to take his first step toward redemption as Jesus questioned his love for him after the resurrection.
8. Paul had to take the first step onto the platform to present the gospel to Caesar and his household in Rome.
Don’t judge the first step.
Fear will get in the way every time. It can be disguised in a number of ways. For example, we can be psyched out before we even take the first step, often because we invent the ‘worst case’ scenario in our minds. This is actually one of the personalities in the Enneagram! It’s #7. My husband Bill is like the perfect #7. He makes his living processing ‘worst case’ scenarios every time someone comes into the ER. Lives are saved or injuries are discovered because there are people like Bill who think this way. AND…then there’s me and people like me that don’t think that way at all. We poo-poo that whole thought process by asking, “What’s the fun in that?” Be creative! Be spontaneous! It’s a darn good thing Bill married me. I think we balance each other and we've learned to respect each other’s personality while maintaining our own. We laugh a lot when we think about how miserable we would make two other people if we were married to someone else.
1. Feel the fear—but do it anyway.
2. Pick up your foot.
3. Place it one step in front of you.
4. Open your eyes. Look up so you can see ahead of you.
5. Allow your body to shift forward—intention is everything.
6. Bring your mind along—you need to think through this.
7. Your heart has to come with you—or your heart won’t be in this.
8. Ta Da! Your first step.
The first step does not define the outcome but a lack of one will.
How we prepare for a next step is a big deal. Some ‘first steps’ require practice, training and outside coaching. Here is a helpful acronym we will use Sunday to help us understand our part of the journey. Pastor Corey came up with this and I think it’s brilliant! We will use the letters PREP.
P = Prayer
R = Read Scripture
E = Experience Community
P = Practice
Read through Genesis 22 on your own. Focus on Genesis 22:3. I wonder if Abraham struggled all night and finally decided to get up or if he slept well that night and woke up refreshed. Either way, he made the decision to go through with what God asked. But, I am certain of one thing…that first step Abraham took was the hardest. See you in church.
So Abraham got up early the next morning and chopped wood for the fire. He put a saddle on his donkey and left with Isaac and two servants for the place where God had told him to go. Genesis 22:3 CEV