The First Step is the Hardest

The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.

Real Life Moments

“…as soon as the soles of (your) feet…shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off…and they shall stand as a heap” (Joshua 3:13).

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “A thousand mile journey must begin with the first step.”

I remember when I sold World Book encyclopedias door to door to supplement my income as a pastor. The hardest thing to do every morning was get in the car and drive to a neighborhood and knock on strangers’ doors. Everything in me militated against taking that first step out of the car. Sometimes I would sit in the car in front of a house for 5 or 10 minutes, until I was convinced that if I didn’t go ahead and get out, the neighbors were going to be calling the police about this “guy sitting in the car like he’s casing the neighborhood.”

I would finally summon my courage, reminding myself of a wife, two children, and one on the way who were depending on me to put milk and bread on the table. Taking that first step out of the car and onto the sidewalk was all I needed. After that, it was easy. I didn’t mind talking to the person who opened the door. I believed in my product and could sell it. Once I took that first step, I was OK.

The same thing happens to me when I get ready to write a column each week. I can easily spend 30 minutes just staring at my computer, trying to figure out what I should write about. Sometimes that staring is made more productive through prayer, but I admit that sometimes it is closer to catatonia than conversation. But when I finally get started, once I take the first step, I am on my way and the words sometimes even seem to write themselves.

Taking the first step to inviting someone over from the church for dinner might be the key to building fellowship. Deciding you are going to really clean out the garage is not enough. You have to take the first step…into the garage! Making up your mind that you will witness to someone tomorrow is a great idea. But great ideas lay dormant unless and until the first step is taken. Having a desire to play the piano is epidemic. The numbers dwindle, however, when you count those who take the first step, or, lesson. Wanting to see your family settled into a good church is a wonderful ‘want.’ It will only happen when you turn that want into action and take the first step.

Sometimes taking the first step even results in God’s miraculous intervention. Take the children of Israel and their entrance into the Promised Land, for example. God commanded the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant to take the first step into the Jordan River. This was during flood stage so the water would have been deep and swift. The promise that would attend to their obedience was clearly spelled out by God’s promise: “step in, and then the waters will obey Me.” (my paraphrase)

That first step was the hardest because it required faith. But God enables us to act in faith and then God rewards faith with His power! The waters stood that day on either side like a wall of testimony to God’s faithfulness.

What God has promised will come to pass, but sometimes He lays down conditions for His blessings. In this case, it was that His followers take the first step. It is not only the hardest step, but the most important one as well.

Prayer: “Lord, show me the first step and give me the courage to take it.”

Action: Whatever the Lord shows you that needs to be acted on, take the first step!

Take me back to


About C4FIC

The Council for Family-Integrated Churches exists to promote reverence for the gospel in order to reform the church and restore the home as an embassy of the kingdom of God.
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