Copying the Original - Jeff Totten

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. ‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” —1 Peter 2:21-25

 

Many of you have heard of, and maybe even owned a few pairs, of WWJD bracelets. The memorable phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” has stuck in most of our minds for many years. Did you know that this verse from 1 Peter was the original prompt for author Charles Sheldon to write the book, In His Steps, which then led to the creation and worldwide phenomenon of the bracelets we all know well.


Christ left us an example so we may follow in His steps. We’re meant to follow Him so closely—tracing the path He laid—that people see a reflection of the Original.

 

If you make a copy of a photo, the first copy might look almost identical to the original, but if you continue to make copies of the copies, trying to recreate the original by mimicking the imitations, the authenticity and accuracy of the photo will fade.Similarly, while we are called to have Godly leaders in our lives—such as pastors, coaches, teachers, parents, and mentors—we have the privilege of intimately knowing and following Christ Himself! Follow His steps. If we decide to copy imitations of the real deal, our lives will start to fade in meaning.

 

How do we copy the Original? God gives us four specific examples in this passage:

 

Stay away from sin. Verse 22 tells us how Jesus lived His life to give us an exact example of how we are to live ours. We’re not perfect, we will mess up, but Christ’s grace covers our mistakes. As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” We all need a goal to aim at. If we aim to consciously keep sin out of our lives by walking according to the Spirit (Romans 8:14), we may not escape temptation every time, but we’ll be much better off than if we walked about blindly.

 

Control your speech. Even when Christ was insulted, He did not revile. No deceit was found in His mouth. Whatever comes out of your mouth has power, whether that’s gossip, slander, and falsehood, or gracious speech, loving words, and encouragement. Make sure the words which come out of your mouth are the same that would come from Jesus’.

 

Commit your suffering to Him. Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father—the ultimate Judge. In the same way, we’re called to trust God through suffering. When you go through hard times, don’t become bitter or find an excuse to blame someone else. Jesus never blamed anyone (though He had every right to), but instead He trusted God and accepted the suffering to which He was called. He obediently said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

 

Shepherd Others. We ourselves were straying like sheep, but when we accepted the grace and salvation of Christ, we returned. Christ shepherds me and He shepherds you. Likewise, we are called to be influencers of others. We need to have the heart of Christ and care for the spiritual condition and needs of those around us. Ask the questions, “I care how my teammate performs as an athlete but does our friendship go deeper than that? What’s going on in their life? How can I look out for them?”

 

We’re called to be imitators—to copy the Original. We’re also called to bring others to know, love and trust Him so they can follow in His steps too. What are you doing today to represent Christ?

 

—Jeff Totten, Chaplain of the Detroit Tigers

 

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