An Authentic Imitation

   Written by on May 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm

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. (1 Peter 2:21, ESV) 

logo - mcdonald newAuthentic: it’s the real thing, not a knock-off or cheap replica. And authentic is one way we describe a life worth living. A person living out who they are meant to be is the best sense of the idea. Genuine people are often hard to find.

The ultimate standard for authenticity is Jesus Christ. He’s the real original. This is true because He is not only our Maker and therefore qualified to tell us how to live authentically, He is also our example. Humanly speaking, He was in every way our perfect model.

In fact, the Christian life could be described as learning to live faithfully as an authentic imitation of Jesus. That’s why the apostle Peter, no stranger to hard lessons and humiliating failures, was told in no uncertain terms by Jesus, “You follow me.” (John 21:22) It’s also why Peter passed on that same wisdom to us: “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.” (1 Peter 2:21)

We can’t duplicate what Jesus did, but we can imitate Him. Authentic Christians don’t drift in His steps, or wander in roughly the same direction—we follow Him. We love like He did, serve like He did, and live sacrificial lives like He did. The world sits up and takes notice when people who call themselves Christians actually behave like Jesus.

There are some things you’ll need to learn and other things you will have to leave behind if you’re really going to “follow in his steps.” To know what these things are, you literally have to walk in the Word. Your daily decisions need to be directed by what God says, not your own whims. The One who left you an example can help you follow it. Philippians 2:13 includes a great promise: “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Your very desire to follow in Christ’s steps is evidence of His work in you.

To more closely identify with Jesus, make it your goal to read through the four Gospels—there are eighty-nine chapters in all. If you read just a chapter each day, you will have finished the four biographies of Christ’s life in three months.

As you read, ask God to help you see the example Jesus left behind and give you the courage and strength to follow in His steps. The pursuit of authenticity is about the steps you take as God works in you, conforming you to His Son—“For to this you have been called.”

About James McDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel ( which now has 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend. Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (, was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’s leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship ( was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020. James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, and most recently, Come Home.


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