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
Authentic is a word we use to describe a life worth living. It’s a person being themselves (or who they are meant to be) in the best sense of the idea. Genuine human beings are people we almost instinctively want to emulate, but are often hard to find.
The one true 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 ultimate 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, and who was told in no uncertain terms by Jesus “You follow me” (John 21:22), 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. The more we can grow to be like Jesus, the more we will be living an authentic life. Authentic Christians don’t drift in His steps, or wander in roughly the same direction as His steps—we follow in His steps. Authentic: the original article, the real thing, not a phony, knock-off, or cheap imitation. Authentic disciples of Jesus 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 act like it by behaving like Jesus.
There are some things we’re going to have to learn and others we will have to leave behind if we are really going to “follow in his steps.” In order to undertake this journey, we will literally have to walk in the Word. Our daily travels will have to be directed by what He says, not our own whims. The One who left us an example can help us 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.” Our very desire to follow in Jesus’ steps is evidence of God’s work in us.
This year, make it one of your goals to read through the four Gospels at least once. There are eighty-nine chapters in all of the Gospels combined. If you read a chapter every four days, you will have finished the four biographies of Jesus by the end of the year. As you read, ask God to let you see the example Jesus left behind and to give you the courage and strength to follow in His steps. You will find that the pursuit of authenticity is a lot about the steps you take, but even more about what God does in your life to conform you to His Son.
What are some areas that stick out from this past year where you know you need to follow in Jesus’ steps more closely?
Describe one trait from Jesus’ life that strongly draws you to follow Him?
Lord, it’s amazing to contemplate the idea that following Jesus’ footsteps in an authentic way is the best way to be myself. Since You designed me from the start, You intended that the real me would be capable of representing Your Son in an authentic way in the world. How I long for that to be more true and less obscured by sin and selfishness. Thank You for the reminder that You are working in me both to will and to do Your good pleasure. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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