In this article, we introduce our newest column, “Walk as He Walked.” What is this new column all about, and why is it important for you?
Ever since Discern magazine began back in January 2014, I’ve had the privilege of writing the “Christ Versus Christianity” column that appeared in nearly every issue—45 to be exact!
The column’s title was designed to be challenging and provocative—after all, how could Christ be against the very religion that bears His name? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
If you followed the series for the past seven years, I hope you saw the substance behind the somewhat radical title. The religion that claims Christ’s name actually contradicts many of the things He taught.
In our first article, we based the premise of the series on one scripture: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
So according to Jesus, people can confess He is the Lord but not really be Christians because they don’t obey His will. Christ not only warned about false Christianity, but also directly predicted it would come (verse 15). He told us that some would claim to worship Him, but would teach something quite different (Matthew 15:9). Do their teachings reflect or contradict His teachings?
So we did just that. We examined commonly held beliefs of different denominations of mainstream Christianity and compared them to Christ’s own words and the rest of the Bible.
We saw that many doctrines commonly taught today blatantly, or subtly, contradict Christ’s words. Teachings like the rapture, the customs of Christmas and Easter, and the idea that all one has to do is “accept Jesus” to be saved. Misguided ideas about hell, the gospel, what Jesus looked like, what it means to be saved and many more. If you missed any of these articles, you can explore them by visiting lifehopeandtruth.com/discern/cvc.
Introducing our newest column
But after seven years of “Christ Versus Christianity,” we’ve decided to move on to a different approach. We’ve spent seven years examining many of the counterfeits. The natural follow-up is to transition to a more intense focus on the genuine article.
And there’s no better way to learn about true Christianity than through the life and teachings of the Christ Himself.
His life and teachings modeled what true Christianity is. After seven years of focusing on what Christ didn’t do and teach, we will now focus on what He actually did do and teach. As we do that, we’ll undoubtedly uncover more common misconceptions about Him.
So with this issue, we begin our newest regular column, “Walk as He Walked.”
Why “Walk as He Walked”?
The new series is inspired by the apostle John’s inspired words recorded in 1 John 2:6: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (emphasis added throughout).
In each article, we’ll focus on a specific episode in Christ’s life and carefully examine it for what it teaches us about Him and how we can follow His example today.Those words—walk just as He walked—encapsulate Christianity in its most basic and pure form. In order to live and practice genuine Christianity, we must learn from the example of the One whose life defines it, Jesus Christ. That means His example and teachings must be the foundation on which we build our life (Matthew 7:24). We should think of His life and words as the ultimate template for us to follow.
John was not the only one to write about the importance of learning from and following Christ’s example.
The apostle Peter was a man who literally walked hundreds of miles with Christ on the dusty roads of the Holy Land. Like John, he had the opportunity to spend more than three years with Jesus Christ—giving him a front row seat to see how Jesus lived day in and day out. He watched Him in all situations—in times of stress, times of leisure, and both formal and casual situations. He had been both corrected and commended by the Man. No doubt those years spent with God in the flesh had an indelible impact on his life and shaped the man and leader he became.
In 1 Peter 2:21-22, Peter also underscored the importance of walking as Jesus walked: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.”
Here Peter adds three more areas where Jesus set a perfect example—in how He endured suffering, how He resisted sin and how He used His words. Each of these areas of life are just as relevant today as they were then.
The apostle Paul also lived and taught the same principle. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, he instructed his readers to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Paul was a man who “walked the walk.” He strove to walk in the steps of his Savior and could confidently urge his readers to follow his example in order to do the same. Throughout his writings, Paul would often point to Christ’s example and urge his readers to follow it (Romans 15:3; Ephesians 5:1-2; Philippians 2:5).
The principle of following Christ’s steps even goes all the way back to the Old Testament. In a prophecy about the future work of the Messiah, we read: “Righteousness will go before Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway” (Psalm 85:13). Christ’s life of righteousness did go before Him. We must study that life in order to “make His footsteps our pathway.”
“Learn from Me”
Jesus Himself also taught the importance of this in Matthew 11:29: “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.” We study His life to learn from Him. As He pointed out here, two of the lessons we can learn from His example are gentleness and humility. We will undoubtedly circle back to these lessons in this series.
In one of His most direct and famous statements, Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Could there be anything our world needs more than instruction on how to follow Christ’s example—the way, the truth and the life—in all areas of life? This series will strive to clearly highlight His example and how it can be applied to life in today’s world.
How can we know how He walked?
As we have seen, there are many false portrayals of Jesus Christ in our world today.
Thankfully, the Bible tells us a lot about how He lived His life. We have four Gospels, which are four distinct accounts of Christ’s life, written by four different men. Two of those men, Matthew and John, were eyewitnesses who spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours with the Man Himself. Mark was likely an eyewitness of at least some events, but it seems he and Luke primarily wrote their accounts by interviewing other eyewitnesses.
These four accounts provide not only four different perspectives and angles from which to study Christ’s example, but also four reliable witnesses that testify to what He taught and how He lived. When we study the Gospels, we focus on both His words and His deeds as described by those who were there and saw His example.
We’ll strive to put a clear spotlight on the real Jesus Christ to help you discern the difference between Him and the many false depictions of Him that are out there. Paul warned about people preaching “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). The best way to discern the difference is to closely study and understand the life of the genuine Jesus Christ from the pages of your Bible.
In each article, we’ll focus on a specific episode in Christ’s life and carefully examine it for what it teaches us about Him and how we can follow His example today. Though we’ll base these articles on the Gospel accounts, we’ll also look at other passages in God’s Word that add depth and detail to Christ’s living example.
It is our hope and prayer that this new series of articles will provide practical insights that will help you better follow the example of Jesus Christ in your daily life.
In other words, may you walk as He walked.
To learn more about the four records of Christ’s life in the New Testament, read our article on the Gospels.