IN HIS STEPS.
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:19-25 NKJV
In 1896 the pastor of a church in Topeka, Kansas, began writing a story, which he read (a chapter at a time) to his church youth group every Sundayevening. The first chapter told the story of a tramp, a jobless, homeless man-who walked into a comfortable church one Sunday morning. The man spoke a few words, then collapsed. Three days later the man died in the pastor’s home. But before dying, he spoke to the minister.
“You have been good to me,” he said. “Somehow I feel as if it was what Jesus would do.”
That tramp’s appearance-and his words-prompted a change in the pastor that soon spread through his congregation. That church started measuring everything they did or said by the question “What would Jesus do?” Soon the people of that church were doing amazing things-and seeing amazing results-all because they tried to do only what Jesus would do. In other words, they started following Jesus.
Pastor Charles M. Sheldon’s famous book, In His Steps, is one of the most successful books ever written. At one point, In His Steps had sold more copies than any other book except the Bible.
The apostle Peter once wrote a brief letter that said about the same thing Charles Sheldon’s book said. Peter said that “Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Now Peter wasn’t saying that the way to become a Christian is to try to imitate Jesus; we can only become Christians by the grace of God and by believing in Jesus Christ. But Peter’s letter told Christians that to live as a Christian means to follow in his steps. To make right choices means to follow Jesus’ example. To be like Jesus is to be right.
If we compare our actions to Jesus, we’ll usually see clearly whether they are right or wrong. If we ask ourselves, What would Jesus do? we will usually know right away what is right. And if we follow in Jesus’ steps, we can be sure we’re going the right way.
REFLECT: Today’s reading says that “to be like Jesus is to be right.” Why is that true? Do you think you would have done anything differently yesterday (or today) if you had first asked yourself, What would Jesus do? Why or why not?
ACT: If you’ve never read In His Steps, consider reading it now. If your family doesn’t own a copy of In His Steps, copies may be available in your church or public library.
PRAY: “God, thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. Help me to follow his example in everything I do. Please make me more and more like him every day.”