Saturday, May 3, 2008

Three-Steps Ahead, Two-Steps Back

Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Recently someone mentioned to me that our walk with God (following Jesus) seems to be like trying to climb up a steep, slippery slope – three-steps ahead, two-steps back. I’ve often used that same phrase myself to describe my own struggle with walking with the Lord. This brought to mind the song Shifting Sand by Caedmon’s Call . . . listen to the song on this link.

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And every day I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind

I hear it all depends on my faith
So I'm feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries
Is they're so mysterious

And like a consumer I've been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my 15 minutes of faith,
Then I'd be secure

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

I've begged you for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily

A glimpse of your back-side glory
And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I've seen so much
I explained it away

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found myself standing on your grace
It'd been there all the time

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

The reality of “three steps ahead, two steps back” is that we all are a work in progress – “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” And while at times the struggle may seem fruitless, for the most part we are making progress, even if it’s only one step at a time by the means of “three- steps ahead, two-steps back.” Our ability to take three-steps ahead “comes from the Lord who is the Spirit" and our ability to only fall two-steps back also “comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." And in the midst of the back and forth of the shifting sand of our faith, we can take heart that we do stand on grace!

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, t
hat we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

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