First Steps to Faith

I care as much about your tiny trust-steps through daily life
as about your dramatic leaps of faith. You may think that no one notices, but the One who is always beside you sees everything—and rejoices.

“You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.”  (Psalm 139:1)

I’ll never forget my first Easter Sunday on staff at a local church.

I’d never been a part of anything like it before. I watched as four pastors muscled a wheelchair up a set of stairs, over the edge of a baptismal, and set it down in a pool so a ninety-year-old woman could be baptized. I looked on as hundreds joined her—men and women, couples, families, and even a friend in our small group—all who’d made a decision to accept Jesus for the first time.

Cue the tears.

I stood in wonder, overcome by the sight of joy bursting forth on every face that came up out of that healing water. I had to hold those tears back as we cheered our new brothers and sisters into the Kingdom.

Mark Your Mountaintop Moments

You never forget moments like that. These are the views from the mountaintops of our faith. They’re memories that mark us. Change us. Maybe remind us of that first flicker of a flame on our hearts that we ourselves once had to follow Jesus. And in the time that may have passed for us since that day, how are we walking with Him—perhaps years, even decades later?
Soon, we’ll enter Lent— a season of fasting, prayer, and settling our hearts on God. For many of us, this season means a commitment of meet God in His Word. And maybe this is where we start, by changing those mountaintop moments we remember most into the ones we can experience with God every day.

Take the First Steps to Faith

An aspiring writer recently approached me to ask questions about the writing life. They boiled down to this: “I guess what I’m asking is . . .  how do I ‘get there’ to become a writer?”

My answer? “Easy. You write.”

It’s not easy to write, of course—that takes courage, discipline, resilience, and the willingness to be vulnerable in ways you don’t realize until you actually pick up a pen. I meant the answer itself is easy; writers can’t edit a blank page.

It’s the same as with any goal. If you want to ace that job interview . . . run that marathon . . . take that big risk . . . you have to start somewhere. And like those baptized on Easter that year, if we desire to walk in closer communion with God during the upcoming holy season, then we have to start somewhere.

We have to take that first step.

Want to walk with God?

Want to know Him, follow Him, and hear from His heart like you did from day one? Start with one small step in His Word. Then take another. And another. You may do it poorly to start. But do it often and with intention, and soon you’ll be walking—then running.

Start Small

Don’t be afraid to start with one verse. If that’s what you can commit to—reading one verse a day for the next forty days of Lent—then do it. There’s value in getting really good at the small starts. Why? Because those small wins turn into big victory. Reading your Bible five minutes a day will turn into ten. And then thirty. And then an hour. And before long, your reading habit has turned into full-on life and heart change.

Protect your time

While I was on staff at the church where I saw so many baptisms that day, I still had writing projects on my plate. That meant setting the alarm for 4:30 a.m. every day so I could get time with God and write before I went into the office. The days I wanted to roll over in bed and hit the Snooze button were many. But God impressed it upon my heart—if I wanted to spend time with Him, I had to be disciplined. I had to protect that time and make it a do-first, non-negotiable priority in my life.

Make it yours

Psalm 139 is a love letter from God to each one of His children. The unique qualities that He brings to each of our relationships with Him is why I started Verse Mapping years ago. The creative side of my heart was being fed by fiction writing. But He knows me so well, He knew I needed help to understand the Bible, the will to choose it over other things, and structure for the communion time I craved. Putting a simple system behind studying the Bible verse by verse helped me keep turning pages. And before long I loved it so much that it changed my life—because God met me in the unique way that only He can.

Gather support

While God is making all things new in your heart, why not step into a new view with it? Buy a new Bible for your new journey. Download a Bible reading plan. Set an alarm on your phone for reading-time notifications and tell your family or small group: “I’m doing this! Will you help me?” Putting those who care about you most into the support seat for accountability will help you stay in the Word long after the Lent season has passed.

I often wonder about those brothers and sisters who were baptized that Easter.

I wonder where they are now. I wonder if they’re growing in their walk with God. Maybe a few are even stepping into the shoes of church staff. Maybe they too are turning pages in their Bible and watching with expectant hearts, as another Easter Sunday draws near and more line up to follow Jesus. I wonder. . . when did they decide to take those first steps to faith? Because that’s the mountaintop story this writer wants to hear.