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.