Seven Steps Downward or Upward?
Tonight, as I was reading Leslie Ludy's book, Authentic Beauty, I read the following:
"A devoted young college student, John Stam, who later gave his life for Christ on the mission field in China,* once wrote about the two roads we must choose between whenever we are faced with any kind of temptation toward sin. The first road John called "Seven Awful Steps Downward." He describes each step on this road. The following is a paraphrase:
Step One: Adopting a careless attitude toward sin.
Step Two: Giving in to sin.
Step Three: Habitually giving in to sin.
Step Four: Surrendering to sin.
Step Five: Abandoning God for a life of sin.
Step Six: Becoming a tool of Satan to tempt others to sin.
Step Seven: Hell - and you do not have to die in order to go there. Hell is character as well as location. The person who hates everything that God loves is in hell now, and hell is in him or her.
The second road John called "Seven Glorious Steps Upward." He describes each step on this road. The following is a paraphrase:
Step One: Developing a resistant attitude toward sin -- determining that sin will not gain control over you.
Step Two: Overcoming sin by faith in Christ. Successfully fleeing from temptation--saying no the desire or opportunity to sin.
Step Three: A lifestyle of victory over sin. Habitually saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin. The strength that comes from one victory helps in overcoming the next temptation.
Step Four: Discovering the "abiding life," the "victorious life," the "exchanged life." It has been termed many things by many different Christians through the ages, but in short, it is a life of intimate acquaintance with the grace of Christ and the empowerment that comes when His Spirit gains full access to your life.
Step Five: Entrance into even deeper fellowship with Christ. It started with your trusting God--now God trusts you. You are set apart for His enjoyment and for His service.
Step Six: Becoming one that God calls on to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. A set-apart existence that values Christ over life itself and is willing even to suffer and die to carry out the King's bidding.
Step Seven: Heaven - and you do not have to die in order to get there. Heaven is character as well as location. The person who devotedly loves everything that God loves is in heaven now, and heaven is in him or her."
Which road are you on? The first road is a slippery slope, and you will continue to move downward if you don't change paths completely. If you are on the second road, are you moving upward, or digging a rut where you are? Perhaps even moving one step forward only to move two steps backward? Which step would best describe where you are in your walk with the Lord? Few Christians actually reach Step 5, let alone Step 6 where God can use them to do great and mighty things. If we actually believed that Jesus was returning tomorrow, how would that change our todays?
*John and Betty Stam, former students of Moody Bible Institute, lost their lives for sharing the Gospel in China. They were arrested by Communist soldiers, held for ransom, and beheaded. Their courage led hundreds of other young men and women to volunteer for missionary service.