One step at a time.

One can travel at a speed of a rocket, or move as slowly as a tortoise. There would have been some movement, nevertheless. The laws of nature are that from one place to another, there would have been some change in space and time. Everything that one does in this world makes a difference.

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6-11 NIV).

This world would be a dungeon of hell without change. Each person, from birth, naturally needs to move from crawling to the stage of being able to run. The parents become worried when a child remains in the state of crawling when expected to walk. It would only be an abnormal condition that desires things to remain still.

There is no excuse for not doing anything, in this life. Even where one might assume to be limited financially, there would be some activity that could make a difference. Where there is a will there is a way. If without financing to travel to Bulawayo, one can walk, as few as five kilometres per day. In about ninety days, one would have reached the destination.

This is not difficult, as long as the program is planned and executed, according to the available resources. This is used as an example of what it takes to accomplish tasks in this life. It takes any person, alive to accomplish whatever program one would have put in place.

Some crippled people have performed some activities that those in healthy conditions fail to accomplish. There is no magic to it, except that those involved would apply their willpower with good intentions. The trick would be in doing one thing at a time.

What enables ants to gather huge amounts of food at the appropriate time? God created ants to instinctively behave that way. However, human beings, created in God’s image, are governed by their willpower. Their accomplishments are solely dependent upon their willpower.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:5-6 NIV).

The definition of faith is as important as it frees humanity from all troubles. The limitations are in not knowing what faith entails. To help the reader, we have to first describe what faith is not, before attending to its proper definition. Generally, ordinary people assume faith to mean the ability to blindly achieve things, without even planning.

That does not even warrant being called blind faith if anything can be described in that manner. That behaviour has got nothing to do with faith. It is like closing one’s eyes, before jumping from a high tower, assuming that to be exercising faith. The proper description of that behaviour would be foolishness.

In the example of travelling from Harare to Bulawayo, one sets the journey with food provisions to eat along the way. Without doing so, that trip would amount to insanity. When understanding true faith, one would plan effectively, including the points of rest, along the way.

The person clearly knows the exact date of arrival, following the plotted program. Nothing comes by chance, as far as that person would be concerned. His faith would be in his willpower. He would know what he aims for, as to know what it would take to reach the destination.

Jesus said with faith as little as a mustard seed nothing becomes impossible. The fundamental of understanding faith comes from appreciating being created in God’s image. The second aspect is appreciating the state of degradation with which humanity has come to be. This testifies that humanity, in its current state, is unable to meet Godly standards.

The third aspect is appreciating that Jesus came to show the way, to readopting that standard. The fourth aspect concerns listening and applying everything said by Jesus. In answering His disciples, Jesus gave a parable that clarifies obedience, as a junior.

“Suppose one of you has a servant ploughing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that, you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:7-10 NIV).

The parable portrays faith as more than obeying instructions. Therefore, faith enables one to take responsibility, with confidence, when doing what needs to be accomplished. There is an element of willpower, in faith. Otherwise, without willpower, stemming from one’s confidence, one is incapacitated.

Faith is, therefore, personally induced. In the real world, there are people who have accomplished things, considered mindboggling. The technological advancements are a result of such people’s tenacity, and dedication to accomplish whatever they embarked on. Rather than use the common English dictionary, we have to adopt the definition from the Bible.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrew 11:1-3 NIV).

The first condition is being certain of what would be not there. When Steve Jobs envisaged an idea of a smartphone, it was not real to ordinary people. Those around him could not appreciate the reality of such a garget. But he was certain of its reality.

There is another component, buttressing the definition of faith. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrew 11:3 NIV). Having observed creation, formed at God’s command, removes doubt, capturing the individual.

God’s children are not different from God. What God is capable of doing, His children are also capable of doing. If nothing is impossible with God, nothing is impossible with God’s children. This is justified by the reason that humans were originally created in God’s image. The element of doubt is the only limiting factor, affecting physical humans.

What a person postulates as impossible becomes impossible. Yet what the same person postulates as possible, is, on the other hand, possible. Other than being overwhelmed by such factors, due to physical limitations, time is more frustrating. But, if God is not affected by time, the person of faith cannot be affected by time.

The project may require fifty years to accomplish. That length of time is not a limiting factor to a person of faith. What would be projected to take effect is as good as achieved, depending on the person’s tenacity. The starting point is always that the person would have the assurance of what he would be intending to achieve.

A person who may resolve to travel on foot to Bulawayo but postulating being financially incapacitated may be discouraged. The ninety-day travel might appear too overwhelming and exhausting, to the individual. But a person thinking in that manner would be factoring in, physical limitations. This depicts real failures, as known to exist in this world.

Nothing can be accomplished by such people. This includes discouragement from other fellow humans. When surrounded by negative people, the person succumbs. Faith implies what is unseen by others, but grants assurance and certainty to the person concerned. The proportion of faith in an individual justifies action towards production.

The project can be as small as trimming flowers in one’s backyard. But the project can also be as big as building a fifty-storey building. The person, unable to trim flowers in his backyard, is not different from the one assuming difficult to build a fifty-storey building.

Both get limited by time and resources, to accomplish their envisaged projects. Everything is dependent upon the postulates of the individuals concerned. Either of them would succeed or fail, depending on their consideration of whether necessary to carry out such respective projects, or not.

Listening to reasons for failure to trim flowers in the backyard, convinces, as long as reasons are clearly articulated. The ability to catalogue those reasons is another act of faith, albeit in the opposite direction. Similar failure applies when articulating reasons for the inability to construct a fifty-storey building.

Time and physical limitations are forever, the cause of sustaining human failure. Everything results from one’s postulate—hence the legendary proverbial statement: “Where there is a will there is a way.” There is no magic to it. Some people may talk of education or lack of education, but producing uniform results.

The work of Jesus is greater than can be imagined. But Jesus did not outlast thirty-three and a half years. His mission was portrayed in three things. To preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God, teach the selected disciples and manifest miracles to the unbelieving public. Jesus did not accomplish anything else.

The results of His work, having lasted for two millennia, are projected among His believers. The greatest of those teachings is faith. Belief in His teachings, on one hand, and lack of belief, on the other hand, carry the substance of His arrival.

However, in God, there is nothing like one step at a time. As God postulates, so, things happen. God is outside time and physical limitations. What He commands by His word of mouth happens at that very moment. The same effect can manifest to those aware of having been created in God’s image.

“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:6 NIV).

Jesus had to cast this statement, referring to an ideal man, created in God’s image. However, as long as living in this world, the postulate of that individual faces challenges of time and physical limitations. Hence, with God, all things are possible, yet with physical humans, all things are deemed unachievable.

Lack of faith is attached to physical and time limitations. Yet, on the other hand, the person of faith knows no limitations. A person without faith would have brought factors like age or gender limitations. Yet the person of faith would see none of those limitations. The person of faith envisions accomplishment, with or without those apparent limitations.

As created in God’s image, humans are spiritual, so as to pass through closed doors, without hindrance. However, when still surviving physically, the consideration of manoeuvring through physical limitations needs consideration. Getting out of the room, one has to consider the exit point and go through it accordingly. This is what one step at a tie entails.

Faith should not be limited to uprooting mulberry trees, or any such miracles. Faith goes by a person’s own conviction, which may not be understood by others. The person has to know his/her spiritual identity, first. The identity of Jesus was “Christ.”  There cannot be any other Christ, after Him.

Jesus never declared himself, as Christ, to all and sundry. But He fulfilled the role of being the Christ. A person having discovered being God’s child discovers the reason for being born in this world. This is why, with his/her physical limitations, that person cannot move away from desiring the services of Jesus.

There is nothing impossible with that person. But Jesus said if the same person would have faith, as little as a mustard seed, needs to go further than obeying Jesus’ instructions to achieve his/her own goals. If doing only what is expected of him/her; the person would be regarded as very unproductive. That person would need to remove “impossibility” from his/her vocabulary.

We live in a very dangerous world. But there are plenty of Christians, unaware of the aspect of faith in them. They are unnecessarily assumed to be incapacitated when everything would be within their ability to accomplish. They require appreciating that nothing is impossible when considering the aspect of approaching one step at a time, in their endeavours.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

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