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In His Steps

This past week, I finished reading In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon.

It’s a fairly old book but has a timeless theme.

If you’ve never read it before, I highly recommend that you do.

We all seen the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets.  I think this phrase can be traced back to this book.

Simply put, the book is about a group of Christians who make a one-year pledge to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” in every situation in their lives.  The book traces how the community outside of the church is affected by this pledge, and how the movement spreads to another city.

The message of this book isn’t so simple though.  Parishioners go beyond the surface and experience a change that cuts to the core.  Most of them make changes in their lives that cost them dearly, and they often paid the price…financially and socially.

The message at church this morning was from 1 Peter 4:1-6:

Living for God

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

My pastor spoke about how Christians often experience persecution because of changes they make in their lives.

Don’t you just love when you’re hit on several different fronts with the same message.  Whoever said that God doesn’t speak to us today sure doesn’t know my God (the ONLY God).

I see two common themes here – choice and suffering.

In both cases…the book and the sermon from this morning…people have to make choices.  Who do we serve?  How much of ourselves do we give?  Do we just pay lip service, as some from the book did, or do we serve God past the point of being comfortable?

I am guilty of giving just so much and no more.  If it’s out of my comfort zone, then I stop.  The rare case was the weekend I served as table hostess during my church’s women’s retreat.

I wonder how different my life would be if I asked the question of “What would Jesus do?” before I embarked on something.

Truth be told, I think I’m scared of what I would be asked to do.

How much of my time would I be asked to give?  Would I have to stop knitting socks for myself?

What about my money, which is being deposited in small increments right now?  How much will I be asked to give if I truly ask the question.

It can be difficult to ask the question, act on what God speaks to your heart, and then answer to society about it.

Remember how I walked out of the movie a few weeks ago?

I know that people might have thought it was extreme.  I mean, kids hear that kind of language at school all the time.  Sex is everywhere…in magazines, on TV…

And yet, if I want to walk in Jesus’ steps, I will have to make these kinds of choices…daily.  Any suffering I might endure is temporary, as my pastor pointed out today.  He told us to imagine eternity as a line stretched to the farthest reaches of the universe.  Then, image one small black dot along that line.  That dot is one life…our’s.  The suffering in our lives would be represented by a fraction of that dot.

It’s finite and one very itsy bitsy piece of the overall picture.

What a small price to pay for salvation that will last an eternity.

The message of this book will stay in my heart.  I know I won’t act in accordance to what I know Jesus would do in every situation.  I know that the best I will probably do is a minute fraction of what He would do.

But I know that every step that I follow will be one more in the right direction.

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