Two More Steps

Some time ago, my brother and his family took a trip along the beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline. As they stopped near an overlook to view the scenery, their son eagerly jumped out of the car and started running toward the edge of a cliff. Throwing all caution to the wind, he headed full steam toward the precipice. Seeing what the young boy could not, my brother yelled at the top his voice, “Stop!” Immediately, he stopped in his tracks. Just a few more steps and he would have plunged to his death. His eyes could not see the danger that lay ahead; he was about to step over the cliff, to a point of no return.

I remember a time when I, too, was headed in the wrong direction; all the while believing I knew the way, the truth, and the life. Even if you are totally sincere, traveling on the wrong path will not enable you to end up at the right location. How can this be? Doesn’t sincerity count with God? Actually, yes; God counts sincerity when it is joined with honesty, truth, and purity; but sincerity alone can still be grounded in wrong motives. Sincerity can lead you anywhere you desire to go; however, it does not mean that what you are doing is right. And, it does not mean that you know Jesus, who is the only Way.

Many years ago, a man followed his own path and turned away from the truth he once loved. Before it was too late, and he had gone too far, a friend was inspired to write to him what God had revealed to her about his life. “Satan has sought to afflict and ruin you, and even to take your life; but your Saviour has shielded you again and again… When Satan has clamored for you, claiming you as his own, Christ has repulsed your cruel and malignant foe with the words: “I have not yet withdrawn My Spirit from him. He has two more steps to take before he will pass the boundary of My mercy and love. Souls are the purchase of My blood. The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; the Lord rebuke thee.”” (Testimonies for the Church Volume Five, page 338)

Two more steps. The first step you take in the wrong direction turns you from the right path. The next step, following the first, fully commits you in that direction. How many people are committed to a wrong course, never to return to the path of truth? Once committed, they become blinded by Satan and sin, and are unable to see where they are headed. God’s Word says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The Word of God lights up our path, leading us in the right direction. This Word shines at our feet and keeps us from stumbling and falling into sin. Most importantly this Word is founded on truth—the truth that “shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

When all is said and done, I don’t believe the “big” sins will be the reason most people are lost. In my own experience, it is the little sins—the ones that seem harmless—pride, covetousness, and love of this world, which first lead us away from God. If you have gone down a path that seems to have no return, stop! Two more steps could be all there is between you and the precipice of no return. When you decide to stop, ask God to place your feet on the path toward home and give you a new heart. And, with the psalmist, pray, “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.” (Psalm 119:133) No matter how you may have gotten off the path, the light of His Word will lead you safely home.

—Pastor Steve Nelson