"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Sometimes steps feel more like giant leaps (just ask Neil Armstrong). Other times they feel more like a Tim Conway old-man shuffle, where you barely make any progress.
Lately, we feel like we're more in the Tim Conway mode, as progress is very slight. But we keep reminding ourselves that progress is better than retreat.
Let's talk about steps. Last week Tammy and I took a lot of steps and walked all the way around the block. We live on a slight hill, so it means we had to walk up to the end of the street, then down, then back up to the house. Her pace was good and she wasn't too winded when she got home.
This recovery has been a long process, and there still is a lot of steps to go. Even when we reach the 180-day mark later this month, we'll still have a long road ahead of us. Most of the restrictions should be lifted, but she'll still have to visit the clinic on a regular basis. She won't be risk free for five years.
Tammy remains positive. She is anticipating what's next, and even though the steps of progress are not as dramatic as they were a few months ago, she is thankful for each step. We now recognize differences in terms of weeks, rather than days. For example, she notices differences in her weekly appointments at the clinic. People who don't see her every day, like I do, notice a difference in the way she looks. They talk about her color and her alertness.
Our walk with the Lord sometimes seeks like a slow progression. We want to do the Lord's will, but we get in our own way. When we make progress it's barely noticeable. Especially when we examine our own lives, because by default we're around ourselves all the time, we don't see much change. But if you've become a Christian as an adult, someone who knew you before He came into your life will see a big difference.
But here's the best analogy. The difference between us before Christ took control of our lives and after He became our Lord is the difference between darkness and light. Darkness is not the opposite of light, it's the absence of light. When we become Christians, God looks at us through the lens of forgiveness offered by Jesus' sacrifice. That's pure light. Christ takes our sins away and lets His light shine on, in and through us.
As the Scripture from Philippians states, we don't consider ourselves complete. We're 50 years down the path toward eternity, and hopefully we will have many years ahead. But our goal is not a rich life here. It's reaching that day when we will see Jesus face to face, and He will look at us and say "Well done, good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21, 23)
Step by step.