One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Sunday, February 12, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"1 (Lyrics)

Do you ever feel as though your life is an endless cycle of one step forward, two steps back, despite your greatest efforts? To be sure, there are stretches when things run smoothly for a while, but then, there inevitably comes a bump in the road that upsets things again.

We're in good company. The Bible contains many stories of people who had a rough time following God, even when they desired to do it. Sometimes, they were strong and fervent in their faith, and then, something would cause them to stumble in disgrace.

Adam and Eve, coming straight from the hand of God, couldn't blame their downfall on poor parenting or bad role models. Yet, how quickly they fell into disobedience of God's direct command to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God said of King David, the mightiest king of Israel and forebear of the Messiah, "I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart." (Acts 13:22b NLT) Yet, he stumbled mightily in his sin with Bathsheba.

Even the entire nation of Israel, God's chosen, covenant people, seemed to be in a constant state of flux. Falling into a state of apostasy and disobedience, they would feel the sting of God's discipline, yet He promised repeatedly throughout their history to bless them bountifully if they would repent and return to His ways.

We can almost see the great apostle Paul wringing his hands in despair as he laments, "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." (Romans 7:18b-19 NLT)

I know that I, too, can be consistently inconsistent in my daily choices and actions. This constant swinging in the wind, going from sin to obedience, right to wrong, good to bad, seems to be a hopeless state. We know that even when we turn our lives over to God, we still can't live a sinless life.

Yet, there is hope. Paul tells us:

Romans 8:2 – And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (NLT)

We have the power of God to rely on, and it is far greater than our own strength — or that of Satan.

When we feel discouraged by our own inconsistency and failures, let's be heartened by the fact that we have God's help to carry us through. Sincere repentance is necessary when we sin, but how encouraging it is, then, to know that we can turn away from sin and continue on as we faithfully seek to follow in His ways.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You know our weaknesses and failures. How thankful we are that You forgive us when we confess our sin, and You give us strength to continue on in our life's journey. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Very encouraging message.

    Bless you for these life-giving thoughts!

    Amen, Gail! Thank you for this encouraging devotion.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    We have Jesus, our Saviour – as we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent we bow in reverence and prayer.

    And it is as you have said Gail! Amen, Amen.
    Thanks be for your message that points to Christ. Blessings.

    Thanks, Gail, for another of your special writings. We sure need be grateful that when we come to our loving Lord asking forgiveness, He is ever ready to forgive and get us on the right track again. Blessings for these mindful and encouraging devotionals you write.

    AMEN and AMEN. Thanks for your beautiful devotion reminding us that God is always ready to forgive our sins and show us the way to everlasting Love and Peace by his Grace.

    Gail, there’s a reason I often sing “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it” with much emotion! I’m thankful that my Savior calls me back each time to remind me Who’s I am and that I am safe in His love. Thank you for reminding me again of God’s patience and forgiveness.

    Loved your writing and the thoughtful message you gave me. I have been in the one step forward, two steps back situation. It’s good to reflect on David, a man after God’s own heart and others but they failed too. Gratefully, God was not done with David the Bible tells of his goodness after his failure. My prayer is that he will never give up on me.

    Good morning, Gail
    Thank you for this very truthful writing. So thankful God has the power and love to forgive and guide us. We may stumble but He gets us back up. Several years ago I wrote a poem and had the same title as this. It was a period of hope and frustration dealing with a teenage stepson. GOD is faithful and we are in a good place for several years now!!
    Have a blessed Sunday.

    Good morning, Gail,
    Great words in the hymn to accompany your devotional. I could picture Paul “wringing his hands” and giggled at “couldn’t blame their downfall on poor parenting or bad role models.”
    This is an encouraging message because I am sure we all feel that we move forward and then backwards in our actions and our faith. As you tell us, God knows we are human and has provided the Holy Spirit to help us. We need not to get discouraged, but to ask for forgiveness and move forward once again with God’s help.
    Thank you for inspiring us to understand ourselves and to recognize it is a faith journey and we need the power of God to help us along. Blessings.

    Thank you, Gail. The last paragraph is especially helpful.

    Thank you, Gail, for sharing this devotional with us. It brings both comfort and the admonition we all need of taking our sin seriously. I join you in thanking God for His grace, mercy, and hope, through Jesus Christ.

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