Baby Steps

April 10, 2000
by Joann Tompkins-Winborn

Psalm 119:133 – Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (NIV)

Lately, I have been convicted of my lack of focus on the things of God. It seems that the transition into my new marriage has not been without conflict. As my new husband and I attempt to adjust to the changes that come with my leaving a single-parent lifestyle, and his leaving 35 years of singleness, we find occasion to "disagree".

The circumstances that trigger our disagreements are really not of significance when put into kingdom perspective. At the time we are in the midst of "ourselves", however, they appear to be insurmountable. Pride, self-centredness, hard-heartedness, feelings of rejection, anger, and shame take centre stage away from the attributes we have been given through our salvation in Christ.

The fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22 become invisible as we focus on each other, rather than on our Father in heaven who calls us His own. But His grace abounds, and sooner or later, (more often sooner, thank God), we come to a place of prayer, repentance, and forgiveness. We are brought to our knees by the realization that once again we have dishonoured our Lord by disrespecting each other and the gift He has given us in our marriage.

It is in such moments we realize that, left to our own accord, we are doomed to failure. Only by learning to walk in the Spirit can we fully experience the love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness and faithfulness that is promised us in God's Word.

These fruits of the Spirit are essential to the health and well-being of any relationship — especially one between a husband and wife.

Walking in the Spirit…

As a baby must learn to walk, so must we learn to walk in the way the Lord has set before us. Peter compares us to newborns, and, as newborns must learn to get up from their knees and walk, so must we learn to walk in repentance and forgiveness. We are to step out in faith, believing in God's trustworthiness to lead us out of our sin and into his righteousness. This is the goal that my husband and I have. Together, one step at a time, we are learning to walk in the ways of the Lord; to die to self and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to develop in us those fruits that are pleasing to our Creator.

In the learning, we are sure to fall, but determination spurred on by the Holy Spirit who lives in us, will help us regain our footing. Again and again we will go through this process, and with each new attempt, our spiritual growth increases.

First steps: wobbly, unsure, scary, covering short distances, induced by a desire greater than fear. Before we know it, we have reached the object of our desire — and He is waiting with open arms.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the love that is unconditional. Thank You for the forgiveness that reconnects us when we have come undone. Help us to die to our own selfish interests so that we may be filled with the desires that You have for our lives. Teach us to walk anew in the way that You have determined for us. Amen.

About the author:

Joann Tompkins-Winborn <shinenlite@aol.com>
Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

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