The express elevator is right there, promising to zoom us to our destination on the 50th floor in a matter of seconds. As we stand in the lobby, our inner voice asks, “Stairs or Elevator?” And we quickly think, “Stairs? Are you kidding me!?”
That is how it typically plays out in our mind. But if you connect the metaphor with our Christian life, sometimes taking the stairs is the only way to have a successful journey. Here’s why . . . .
The trip to the 50th floor goes through the 10th, 20th, the 30th, and the 40th floors first. Taking the elevator means we’ll miss experiencing what is on all of those previous floors and, as a result, not be able to truly appreciate the journey.
That is exactly how it is with our faith walk.
Making a move in faith toward intimacy with God and living a purpose-driven, Christ-like life—taking the stairs–can be thwarted by our fixation on finishing quickly. We want immediate gratification by zooming to the 50th floor. Our ability to take a faith step can die right there in the lobby if we succumb to the elevator’s temptation, because trying to do everything at once is impossible.
God wants us to relax and take the stairs. It’s the Christian equivalent of “chill.”
One of the primary reasons I used to choose the elevator over the stairs earlier in my faith walk was my bloated “to-do list” that had almost everything marked: “URGENT!” I wanted to check goals off the list, and I wanted to do it FAST!
Thankfully, God revealed to me how this trap would keep me from moving beyond fear and doubt toward trust and peace. Indeed, he showed me it would land me in “perfection prison” with a life sentence without parole. I know all about that fate because I spent time in that joint earlier in my life.
If we focus too much on being busy and checking items off our to-do list, we think self-defeating falsehoods about our life purpose, ministry, and mission in life. We start thinking things like: “I don’t have the time to finish so why even start” or “There is so much to be done that it feels like nothing can be done” or “Sit still, you can’t do that.”
We never start activating our faith because we don’t think we can finish. We are looking for ideal circumstances that are elusive because they are an illusion. No wonder it is so tempting to take the express elevator. Following Christ doesn’t work like that…never has, never will.
THE POWER OF INCREMENTALISM
Resisting the elevator’s temptation and taking the stairs cements our belief in the power of incrementalism—going up one level at a time in our faith walk. The higher we go, the more confidence we create.
God has shown me in my life how important it is to identify a transformative faith step—the first flight of stairs—and then use that energetic stride as a catalyst to develop additional steps and more confidence. This process becomes continuous as I achieve and sustain momentum. Even twisting an ankle in the stairwell becomes a valuable part of the overall journey with God.
That’s why I don’t take the elevator.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18