A young man who was an avid hiker wanted to propose to his girlfriend, but he want to do so at a particularly scenic spot in the mountains where he hiked. His girlfriend, an “indoor girl,” agreed to go, but was having a difficult time with the trek. As she struggled with the ascent, he encouraged her by saying, “just step where I step.”
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Step Where I Step
And that’s what she did, step by step. That “indoor girl” followed the young man she had grown to love and trust.
She made it. He proposed.
And later she said, even though it was challenging, it was so worth it! In fact, she said, it wasn’t as hard as it looked.
As my friend, Marie, was telling the story, I thought about the Christian walk. It, too, can be a challenging journey. It’s filled with steep ascents, unexpected turns, scary cliffs and falling rocks. It tests our stamina and our courage, at times.
But I wonder, do we make the journey harder than it needs to be, because of our failure to truly follow in the foot steps of our Savior?
Just as surely as He did to those first twelve disciples, Jesus says to each of us, “follow me.” Just step where I step.
Too often, we’re walking in our own strength, trying to do what we should through self-effort and wondering why it’s so hard.
We end up exhausted, burned out, or frustrated, because the Christian life can’t be done in our own strength (Matt. 9.26).
This isn’t just a problem for new believers. In fact, as we grow in Christ we may be more prone to self-effort. After all, we know the drill. We speak the language. We know what we should say and do. We’re not as desperate for His help and guidance, not clinging to Him one step at a time. We’ve walk the path before and can easily think, “I’ve got this.”
God knows our tendency and out of His love for us will take us on new paths, steeper journeys than we thought possible, so we see our need for Him. When He does, we’re sometimes shocked at our responses.
We may respond with sinful anger that we thought we’d dealt with years ago or find ourselves tempted with another sinful habit.
In our heart of hearts, we sometimes think “after all I’ve done to serve You, Lord, why would You allow this?”
Why would my child rebel after I’ve raised her right?
Why would my business fail after I’ve tithed all these years?
Why would my spouse walk out?
How can I be struggling with this?
It’s not fair!
That’s when we must look to Jesus and the path he walked ahead of us. We need to step where He stepped … when He was betrayed, misunderstood, falsely accused, arrested and crucified. We need to follow in His steps as He forgives those who reject and sin against Him today.
We need to forgive the unforgivable (Rom. 5.8; Eph. 4.31-32).
We need to love the unlovable (Matt. 5.43-48).
We need to submit to the harsh and unreasonable (1 Pet. 2.18-21, 3.1-2).
We need to bless those who revile us and do us wrong (1 Pet. 2.23).
We need to refuse revenge and overcome evil with good (Rom. 12.17-21).
We need to release the prodigal to His love and consequences, yet stand ready to welcome him home (Lk. 15.11-24).
We need to refuse to be like the prodigal’s brother (Lk. 15.25-32).
We need to follow His steps as He loves and forgives us when we turn to other gods and commit spiritual adultery (Jas. 4.1-4).
We’ll soon realize that we can’t do that in our own strength. We won’t make it to the summit by hacking out our own path.
In Matthew 11 Jesus said:
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus was comparing the “yoke” of the Pharisees legalistic teaching, one of self-righteousness, rule-keeping, and self-effort to the life of love (Matt. 22.34-40).
His “yoke” requires reliance on Him and His indwelling Spirit, walking with Him through the pages of Scripture, praying for His strength, wisdom and help daily (Heb. 4.15-16). It’s a life of faith (Heb. 11.6), obedience (1 Jn. 5.3), regular confession and repentance (1 Jn. 1.9), and dying to self (Lk. 9.23-24).
It’s a life lived at the foot of the cross where we regularly remind ourselves that while His call to “follow Him” is impossible, He has already met all the requirements for us. He did it all. It is finished (Jn. 19.30). And His perfect obedience has been credited to our account (2 Cor. 5.21).
In the next few days in the daily posts, we’ll talk about how to tear down strongholds, how to overcome evil, what happens when we turn our backs on God and more. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
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