I previously wrote a short review of the book, In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon. I told how the book has deeply affected me and how I now feel led to do this bible study on the subject of following in His steps. I began this study by looking at nine different scripture passages: three that have to do with our unity in Christ; four that have to do with how Christ lived His life, showing us how we should live; then two passages in Philippians, which give us excellent teaching from Paul on what our attitude should be, which is the attitude of Christ. This gives us a great three point study. This post is the first point, having to do with our being in Christ. We must begin here because it is where we get the power to imitate Him.
Our Unity in Christ: Finding the Power to Follow in His Steps
We will begin by looking at 2 Corinthians 5:17.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
In order to be able to do as Jesus would do we first need to be made new—to become a Christian. Then, as Christ comes and lives in us, He will give us a new life with new desires. Our old life, with our old desires, will pass away, and we will receive a new life with new desires. Thus I see in this verse that in order to do as Christ would do we first have to desire to do it, for without desire to do a thing our effort will soon grow cold. But with a godly desire, God will move us to pray and to follow hard after Him. Another good verse is Galatians 2:20.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
In this verse we see clearly that as a new believer we live the Christian life by the power of Christ who lives in us. We generate this power by faith in Him who loves us and gave His life for us. We can’t possibly live the life God desires us to live in our natural bodies; but through Him, as we trust in Him, we can live that new life. Let’s look at one more passage.
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
This passage is deep with meaning, but the point I want to make from this passage is that we cannot follow Jesus and do as He would do in our flesh; but we can do it in the Spirit who dwells in us (if we are a Christian). However, as a Christian we still need to set our mind on the Spirit and be constantly asking Him to fill us and empower us. A Spirit-filled Christian has all the power of God supplied to Him to walk as Christ would walk.
The next post on this subject will be, Following in His Steps: Part 2 — Looking at Jesus’ Example.