Walking In His Steps

There is a wonderful book called In His Steps, written by Kansas Congregational minister Charles M. Sheldon in 1896. It is a book based on a series of sermon stories of Sheldon’s that outlines the efforts of a group of church members once they commit to following “What Would Jesus Do?” in every aspect of their life. If you have not read it, I strongly recommend it.

I wanted to take some of the central concepts of this book for today’s post and present it as a challenge for you and I.

What does being a Christian truly mean to you? Is it simply a means to an end or is it a life filled with displays of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) towards our fellow man?

We live in such a divided country and a divided world. Our news, our Facebook and Twitter feeds all are filled with divisive language. We see the anger in others, yet quite often, our own Christian voices help stoke the divisiveness. We so much want to be right, that it is too enticing not to respond to a post we do not agree with.

Thus, we are fixated on things temporal instead of things eternal.

Instead of focusing on all of the hate, perhaps we can find ways to channel the light we should have within us; something our Savior asked us to do (Matthew 5:16). The politics of divisiveness mean little to an individual in a homeless shelter or in a hospice. As we go on with our own lives and thoughts towards how evil the other side is, does it leave much thought for the condition of the men, women, and children who are dying, both body and soul, who are in need of Christian help? I’m not talking about our money—but about our time. It’s easy to write a check and feel good about yourself: but someone still has to serve that meal you bought or deliver that coat you donated.

What would Jesus do?

That was the central theme of this book and I believe should also be a central theme in the lives we lead. Make no mistake—this is an indictment on me as much, if not more, than it is on you. I make no illusion that I sit above any of this. I am also keenly aware that there are those who already exhibit this behavior daily.

But for the rest of us, let your life be an exhibition of Christian discipleship from this day forward. Find a way to give back every day in your actions, not just your pocketbook. Have you overcome something in your life? Pornography? Alcohol or drugs? Then reach out to those who are still mired in it. A recent survey showed that 32% of self-professed Christians age 18-30 consider themselves addicted to pornography and that it’s not much better for middle-aged Christians: 64% admit to viewing pornography at least monthly. There is not a church in the world that is insulated from this addiction. Would Christ turn a blind eye to the unspoken suffering in His church? We need avenues for recovery and accountability groups in every congregation.

Can you say that this is none of your business? Should each man just look after himself? Do you not believe that if every Christian in the world truly acted as Jesus would do that society itself, including our divisive political systems would be so changed that human suffering would be reduced to a minimum?

Let’s face it: today in most of our churches we are living soft, easy, selfish lives, very far from any sacrifice that can be called sacrifice. Although there are exceptions, but most of us sacrifice by proxy alone.

Let us vow this day to change this. Find a ministry or start a ministry in which you can give back and be a blessing to someone else. Volunteer your time in the service of others. Let your good works reflect a life devoted to Christ and possess a hunger for discipling others. Let us truly strive to imitate Jesus.

If we can do this, then we are truly walking in His steps.