Put Your Feet in His Footsteps
Posted by March 9, 2017on
When I was young, I used to go hiking through the woods with my father. This taught me about nature, but I also learned another more important lesson.
By Rebekah Leyden
Some of my most vivid memories as a little girl were when my dad would take me hiking. It was a special time for just the two of us, and it gave him the opportunity to share two things he loved with me: tramping through nature and teaching along the way.
Whenever the trail narrowed or got especially tricky to traverse, he would say, “Just put your feet where mine go.” So as I would follow behind him, I would watch where he put his foot and step into its place as he took his next step. This taught me so much about how to find sure footing and, more importantly, how to plan my steps ahead of time—a lesson that certainly transcends rugged forest trails.
Through his example and experience, my dad guided my path through some pretty taxing trails over the years, but I learned to trust his leadership and walk where he walked. That close scrutiny resulted in getting us through the most challenging portions of our hikes and strengthened the bonds of our relationship.
The footsteps that really matter
Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Word willingly gave up His rightful position of glory to become flesh and blood (John 1:14). Through His vulnerable human existence, Jesus—the only One who lived His life without sin—taught His followers by His words and example. In the Sermon on the Mount, He upheld the very instructions that He, the God of the Old Testament, had given to Moses and the Israelites on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20). He magnified and modeled the intent of those laws throughout His entire physical life.
He set us a perfect example by making “Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). This Man of genuine humility—even unto death—“learned obedience by the things which He suffered” and “became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).
How are we to obey Him? As Christ is the Head of the Church, what is expected of His people? How close are we coming to following the way Christ walked?
The apple of His eye
King David understood the importance of closely adhering to God’s commands. He was even called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)! In Psalm 17:8 David asked God to “keep me as the apple of Your eye.”
This can sound like just a term of affection. But it actually has a deeper meaning we may have never considered. Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible provides background on the meaning of this phrase: “The word ‘apple’ applied to the eye means the pupil, the little aperture in the middle of the eye … in which as in a mirror, a person sees his own image reflected in miniature.”
How close is close?
As my loving father instructed me to walk in his steps on our hiking excursions, so Christ tells us to pay careful attention to following Him. We should strive to be so close to Him that we can see His reflection in our lives, putting our feet proverbially where He has stepped … walking as He walked!
The apostle John wrote, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).
This takes careful attention and diligence over an entire lifetime. Thankfully, we are surrounded by the examples of other people who are striving to follow Christ, and the author of Hebrews admonishes us to follow their example to “show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12).
We are to seek to walk as Christ walked every day of our lives and imitate those who also follow His steps. It is not a task that can be mastered apart from the help of God’s Holy Spirit. But the process of putting our spiritual feet in godly footprints will help us become the people God desires us to be.
To learn more about following Jesus Christ, read “What Is a Christian?”