In His (Not So Pleasant) Steps


What would Jesus do??

Remember when the WWJD bracelets were first becoming popular in the 1990’s? They were quite the phenomenon—and a good reminder to keep Christ’s actions while on earth in mind as we went about our own days living in the world. And really, it still is.

You may or may not know how this movement started. An evangelist in Michigan (yup – the VERY state I live in!) read Charles Sheldon’s classic novel In His Steps with some youth and decided to put the book’s principles to work—with a reminder around the wrist.

I read In His Steps as a new Christian in the early 2000’s, and was impacted strongly by it. Using Christ as our moral compass wasn’t really anything I’d thought about before. It is a wonderful book, and if you haven’t read it, I would strongly recommend you do.

The book, it is safe to say, was based on a verse of scripture from 1 Peter. Well, I was reading and studying it the other day, and realized that this idea of Christ as our moral example may not have been what Peter had in mind when he wrote it.

To this you were called, because CHRIST SUFFERED FOR YOU, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21 – emphasis mine.

Following in Christ’s steps isn’t necessarily about acting as He did – though that is very admirable. Here, we are asked to look at His suffering, and be willing to imitate Him in his struggles.

When tough things happen to me, my first instinct is to see what I can do to stop it. Someone steals from me? Take ’em to court – or at least try to get the item back. I’m criticized for my faith? Argue right back at them. After all, I have my rights. Right?

When things are tough, often God is using our struggles, our suffering, for His purpose. We become more like Him as he refines us in His fire. And that fire is not cozy. Sure, we can back away from it—find an easier way to handle it—but we’ll miss out on the growth He has for us.

If we fight back, we may get what we want – but it isn’t necessarily what GOD wants.

What would Jesus do?

Perhaps he would suffer instead of insisting on His own rights. And maybe He’s calling you and me to do the same.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember that suffering was part of Your life, and that it is meant to be part of mine too. Help me to allow You to work through the difficulties that You put in my way, and to not try to get out of them, if it is not Your will. Help me to follow in your steps through my struggles and suffering. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Joanne Sher

Joanne Sher is a Jew by birth, a Christian by rebirth, and a children's writer by gift. A native Southern Californian, she now lives happily in West Michigan with her husband and two school-aged children. In addition to writing, she is also a freelance editor, the blogger at the FaithWriters blog, and posts monthly at d Jewels of Encouragement, The Barn Door, and Internet Cafe Devotions. Visit her at

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  1. Jo!
    What a reminder!! Girl, Jesus wouldn’t and didn’t run from suffering and this just hit home in my heart…love you!

  2. A heartfelt and heart touching post! What would Jesus do, I need to ask myself that more often!
    Joanne, thanks for being a blessing in life!

  3. So often our first response is to run, not stick with it. Thanks, JoDear!!

  4. I often think of Christ’s suffering when I’m in physical pain, but it isn’t always my first thought when I’m being attacked or critisized for Christian behaviors. Perhaps it should be. Thanks for the food for thought!

  5. Thank you for that precious insight. You have truly glorified the son with your words of inspiration.

  6. St. Augustine says that the difference between the pagan and the Christian is how they handle life’s challenges. The Christian does not take the easy way; they take God’s way and STRIVE to handle the challenge with His grace and His strength. What a wonderful reminder. Christian’s are definitely not sissies!



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