Summary: Jesus didn’t just tell us how to live, He showed us how to live it by living it Himself. Therefore, we should strap on the truth to our feet, pick up our cross and walk “In His Steps.”
In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?
Text: 1 Peter 2:21
Peter wrote: 1 Peter 2:21 “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” The word rendered “example” (hupogrammon) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly “a writing copy,” such as an outline or sketch for a painter to fill up; and then, in general, a pattern for imitation. The idea is illustrated in the way many of us learned how to write as children. The teacher would provide lined paper with a preprinted example or “overwriting” of a character for us to follow in recreating the character in question. The closer we matched the “overwriting,” the more accurate were our letters. In much the same way Peter is telling all of mankind that being “like God” means we are staying close to the “overwriting,” and the “overwriting” is Christ. Therefore, we should follow “In His Steps.”
In His Steps
A.Charles M. Sheldon wrote a novel in 1896 called In His Steps. In a nutshell, the book told the story of a preacher who challenged the congregation where he preached to commit to a year of total submission of walking in the steps of Jesus. The challenge was to pause before making any decisions and ask “what would Jesus do” in that particular situation. The book tells of the drastic changes that took place in the lives of those who submitted to this challenge.
B.One critic pointed out that Sheldon’s idea would not work in the real world because of a fundamental flaw in the premise. The book presents people making decisions on the spot, or on the spur of the moment. But the book never presents the real fact that to do what Jesus did it is necessary to adopt His total lifestyle. In other words, what Jesus did when on the spot was simply a continuation of what He did when not on the spot. When people follow “In His Steps,” it becomes a whole life approach, not an “on the spot” answer to a situation faced.
C.Daniel understood this basic principle. This is why Daniel was able to survive the lion’s den in his old age (Daniel 6). When the decree was issued to prevent men from following God, with punishment for disobedience being death in the lion’s den, Daniel didn’t have to ask what God would have him do. Daniel had been living how God would have him to live for many years, so there was no doubt as to the answer.
Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.”
The key to Daniel 6:10 is found in the final phrase: “as he had been doing previously.” Daniel had already been living the life, so he only needed to carry through, not answer on the spur of the moment. The prayer windows were already open in Daniel’s life, so he just continued to use them. This is what it means to walk “In His Steps.”
I.Walking “In His Steps” Means Imitating Him.
A.Parenting brings a lot of thrilling moments. Parenting also brings a lot of sobering moments.
1.Rodney Adkins lyrics “Watching You”: In the first verse of the song a man and his son are in the car and a sudden stop makes the boy spill his happy meal and drink into his lap which causes him to utter a profanity. The man asks his son where he learned to talk like that and the boy answers in the chorus which begins:
“He said I’ve been watching you dad, ain’t that cool
I wanna do everything you do
So I’ve been watching you”
2.Some like me may be old enough to remember the anti-smoking commercial which had the small boy shadowing his father, mimicking his actions up to and including picking up a pack of cigarettes.
3.Kids are like the cell phones so many carry today, which record audio and video. And it is a fact that they are prone to imitate what they witness in the actions of the adults around whom they grow up. The child wears daddy’s shoes because daddy is a hero, and as the child grows older he graduates from daddy’s shoes to daddy’s life.
B.In a very real sense, we are trying to walk in Jesus “shoes” because He is our hero. He came to this earth and died, fully aware of the sins I would commit that would require His death. Paul wrote: