Several months ago, I was involved in a week-long holiday Bible club (vacation Bible school for the Americans reading this). One of the songs that we sang with the kids, “I Believe in Jesus”, had an instrumental that lasted around 20-30 seconds. During this time, the leaders would run through the crowd of kids and ask each one individually, “Do you believe in Jesus?!” The majority of the responses that we received from the kids were along the lines of “Yeah!”
I have been to other Christian events that were targeted at teens where the speaker or worship leader would ask a question that’s something along the lines of “How many of you here know Jesus?” In response, lots of hands fly up from all around the room.
You see, in my circles, “knowing” Jesus is hip. It’s cool. But really knowing him? Authentically loving him? Actually following him? I think that’s a different story.
I read a book at the beginning of this year entitled “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman. Near the beginning of the book, Kyle used an acronym that I hadn’t heard before. DTR. These three letters stand for the phrase “Define the Relationship”. If I go up to one of my friends and tell them that I want to have a DTR talk with them, I’m saying I want to know where we stand in our friendship. I want to encourage you to have a DTR talk with God in your mind as you read this post.
The reason I want you to have this talk with God is this: I have found that people are very quick to say that they love Christ. Like I said, in my circles, it’s what all the cool kids do. But right now, I want you to have a down-to-earth conversation with your creator. I want you to be honest with yourself and Him. Find out where you actually stand with God. Because the thing is, how can you live like someone when you don’t really know him?
“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.” – 1 John 2:3
Have you ever heard the saying “You are who your friends are” or one like it? Unsurprisingly, as is the case with a lot of famous sayings, the Bible said it first. In Proverbs 13:20, it says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”
If we’re spending time with God, and getting to know Him through prayer and through His Word, those that spend any time with us whatsoever should notice. They should realise that there is something different about us. And it should be dramatic. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because we’re walking with the wisest of the wise! In reading God’s Word, we’re able to find out what he expects and commands of us. Through prayer, we’re able to receive the strength that we need from God in order to carry out the commands that we read about during our time in God’s Word. The only way that we’re going to be able to keep God’s commands long term is if we go through this process of reading His Word, and praying to Him consistently.
If you’re anything like me, you kind of got caught on that last word. Consistency. Reading the Bible and praying consistently, for me, is probably the hardest part of my faith. I don’t think I’m alone in this either. If you also struggle with spending time with God on a regular basis, I encourage you to make a plan now. Don’t procrastinate. Find someone now that is willing to keep you accountable, and asking you how you’re doing spiritually regularly.
So what I would like you to take away from 1 John 2:3 is this: Walking in the footsteps of Christ means finding out what his word commands and following it.
“Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” – 1 John 2:4
God’s not messing around. He makes it clear that if we decide not to study His Word, and/or not to obey his commands, we’re a bunch of liars and we do not really know Him.
“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.” – 1 John 2:5
When you’re obeying God, that “I love Jesus” actually means something. It’s authentic. And that authenticity is demonstrated by your actions, by your obedience to Him.
“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” – 1 John 2:6
Before the creation of the world, over the course of history, and even now, Jesus has done and is doing the will of his heavenly Father, even though he’s technically equal with him.
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” – Philippians 2:5-8
So you want to know how to walk in the footsteps of Christ? Get to know your Heavenly Father better, as well as his commands. Humble yourself to his will and follow his commandments. This is how you walk in the footsteps of Christ.