My heart’s been moved again by the story of Philip and the Ethiopian as found in Acts 8:26-40. This encounter unfolds like a series of rapid succession snapshots, sort of like living a narrative through the lens of a view-finder. Remember those? Philip’s story is a faith-stepping one; it has a lot to teach us about the seasonal work of faith in our lives. Imagine with me for a few moments. Perhaps, like me, you’ll find yourself somewhere in the script.

Philip steps forward. “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he started out, …”. (vs. 26-27)

A life of faith is initiated and directed by the hand of God. A saint steps forward (even to a desert road) when God shouts “Go!”.

Philip steps near. “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.” (vs. 29-30)

A life of faith is often lived out alongside the questioning soul. A saint steps near the questions and isn’t intimidated by the pace of the chariot.

Philip steps up. “‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” (vs. 31)

A life of faith rises to the occasion. A saint steps up into the chariot to tell the truth . . . to give a reason for the hope residing within.

Philip steps down. “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” (vs. 26-38)

A life of faith understands that life truly begins in the baptismal waters of grace. A saint steps down into the river to pour life into others, even it means getting wet in the process. With God, a little wetness is all the more and then some. How long has it been since you’ve stepped down into those waters of grace?

Philip steps out. “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on rejoicing.” (vs. 39)

A life of faith is characterized by seasons. A saint steps out of the scene when God shouts, “Go!”. Some faith-assignments are lengthier than others, but most always they are limited to a time-period. Wise are those who know when to linger and when to step out of the scene.

Philip steps on. “Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.” (vs. 40)

A life of faith keeps moving forward beyond the “stretches and strengthenings” of the soul. A saint steps on to walk the path and do the work of kingdom building. Faith doesn’t end where the last baptism took place. Faith journeys forward to new waters and new chariots in order to dispense the familiar grace from an old, rugged cross.

Thus, faith . . .

  • Steps forward.
  • Steps near.
  • Steps up.
  • Steps down.
  • Steps out.
  • Steps on.

Where are you stepping today, friends?

Step always in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. This road is coming to an end and one day soon, our faith will be our eyes. Until then, keep stepping. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

8 Responses to Faith-stepping

  1. I loved this post, and the one before it, “Words rightly written”. How I love the way you share you heart at strategic points in your journey. Helps those who are walking with you keep pace… and also know what is going on. Your new assignment in this season, mentoring and shaping the hearts and minds of those fortunate 4th graders, is surely doing you tons of good, dear friend. It is stretching you into new borders and new horizons… and I am with you in what God is doing. When I read your posts, inevitably, Abba Father speaks to me as well! Thank you for being faithful to share…

  2. Wow! That is a power-packed, insight-packed post, Elaine. I LOVE it. I feel that sometimes the stepping out is the hardest part. We do what God asks us to do, but then want to hang around to do more, when more is not in God’s plan. I want to step faithfully into and out of God’s plan, as He allows me to share Jesus with others.

  3. Oh, the road is hard lately, and my steps are weary. However, the Lord is faithful to light my way – even if it’s just one quaky step at a time. He is still leading, and sometimes He carries me over the rough parts.


  4. Hello…I’m actually responding/commenting on a post of yours from way back… Jan 28, 2009, entitled Benedictions. I found it while searching for an image on Google of the verse in Hebrews 13:20-21 which brought me to it. For some reason it won’t let me comment there, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciated it. Your mention of “his words when we’ve finally come to the end of ours” hit me hard considering what I’ve been dealing with lately (which you can read about at, “Golden Silence”). Isn’t it a-mazing how God can use things thought forgotten? I mean a post from FIVE years ago…who’d have thunk, huh? 🙂 Thanks so much for YOUR words. They have been used by God to help answer some heart wonderings I’ve had for a while now. A thousand thanks!

    • Thanks so much for weighing in, Lisa. I’m glad that post spoke to your soul. In rereading it today, it spoke to mine as well. I’m grateful for any of my words (currently spoken or otherwise) to be an encouragement to others. Blessings to you this day.

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! Your God-given insight inspires me. I am stepping forward in path I don’t want and that is challenging me as a mother. Somehow I need to find a way to break all these steps into a dance…a dance that gives God glory. Oh to be so focus on God’s spirit to hear him as Phillip!

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