walk in the word
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21, ESV).
Authentic: it’s the real thing, not a knock-off or cheap replica. And authentic is one way we describe a life worth living. A person living out who they are meant to be is the best sense of the idea. Genuine people are often hard to find.
The ultimate standard for authenticity is Jesus Christ. He’s the real original. This is true because He is not only our Maker and therefore qualified to tell us how to live authentically, He is also our example. Humanly speaking, He was in every way our perfect model.
In fact, the Christian life could be described as learning to live faithfully as an authentic imitation of Jesus. That’s why the apostle Peter, no stranger to hard lessons and humiliating failures, was told in no uncertain terms by Jesus, “You follow me” (John 21:22). It’s also why Peter passed on that same wisdom to us: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
We can’t duplicate what Jesus did, but we can imitate Him. Authentic Christians don’t drift in His steps, or wander in roughly the same direction—we follow Him. We love like He did, serve like He did, and live sacrificial lives like He did. The world sits up and takes notice when people who call themselves Christians actually behave like Jesus.
There are some things you’ll need to learn and other things you will have to leave behind if you’re really going to “follow in his steps.” To know what these things are, you literally have to walk in the Word. Your daily decisions need to be directed by what God says, not your own whims. The One who left you an example can help you follow it. Philippians 2:13 includes a great promise: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Your very desire to follow in Christ’s steps is evidence of His work in you.
To more closely identify with Jesus, make it your goal to read through the four Gospels—there are eighty-nine chapters in all. If you read just a chapter each day, you will have finished the four biographies of Christ’s life in three months.
As you read, ask God to help you see the example Jesus left behind and give you the courage and strength to follow in His steps. The pursuit of authenticity is about the steps you take as God works in you, conforming you to His Son—“For to this you have been called.”
Do you want to follow in Jesus’ steps? What does that desire, or the lack of it, indicate?
What are three areas where you know you need to follow in Jesus’ steps more closely?
Lord, thank you for revealing that following Jesus’ steps in an authentic way is the best way to be myself. You designed me and intended that the real me would be capable of authentically representing Your Son in the world. How I long for that to be more true and less obscured by my sin and selfishness. Thank You for the reminder that You are working in me both to will and to work for Your good pleasure. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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