"Are we ready to make and live a new discipleship? Are we ready to reconsider our definition of a Christian? What is it to be a Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as he would do. It is to walk in His steps." - Rev. Henry Maxwell (Chapter 31)
In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon was one of my favorite books of those that I read in 2023. It is an exciting and convicting dive into what it would look like to pledge to ask ourselves the question "What would Jesus do?" before every decision.
Sheldon weaves the details of the lives of a host of fictional 19th-century characters, from pastors, to singers, to businessmen, to criminals, into an intricate and capturing story. There is tragedy, romance, suspense, victory, and whole lot of faith packed into it.
I think everyone who reads this book will find a person or situation with which they can sympathize. I loved the depth of the characters and realistic portrayal of the struggles of life. However, I do want to say that there are some dark moments and deaths in this story, so I would recommend it as a read for teenagers and adults.
The decision to live--to the best of our ability--as Jesus would takes each person down a unique path, and that is easily seen in this story. Each person faced unique struggles, sacrifices, and opportunities. (Spoiler alert: no one who took the pledge had it easy!)
This book is a call for Christians in America to wake up from "comfortable Christianity," to suffer for the cause of Christ, to live as He would, and to seek eternal reward. It has challenged as well as encouraged me, and it I pray it does the same for you.
You can read the full book, In His Steps, here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4540/4540-h/4540-h.htm
I also want to include a video that I found of a musical youth theater performance of this story that I enjoyed: