“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." I Peter 2:22
Quoted in a forgotten song and published in a book which gathers dust on a shelf is a weighty axiom from Brennan Manning. He asserts, "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today are Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” And, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this declaration is regrettably all too accurate.
The standards and practices of Christians have left the church and its congregations without a creditable response to this statement. For this reason, our young are being questioned. They are being challenged. They are being grilled. Why do you follow an ancient antiquated message ignored by modern refined intellectuals? Why do you accept a faith that is obviously rejected in the actions of its adherents?
How are our children and youth to respond? Do many of us not make decisions that refute our faith claims? Do we not often rely on our own selves? In the classic novel, In His Steps, Charles Sheldon’s characters are confronted, after singing the hymn All for Jesus, with the question, do you really want to give it all to Jesus? They are challenged to pledge themselves to “…earnestly and honestly for an entire year, not to do anything without first asking the question, “What would Jesus Do? And after asking that question, each one will follow Jesus as exactly as he knows how, no matter what the result.”
If each of us were to follow the example of Jesus… to dive deep into His Word and find out exactly how to live in his steps, how would this change the social order… how would it changes the life of the youth who gather within the church walls. How much more prepared would each one of us be to answer the questions posed by our society?