Matching the Father's Steps

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

Author and pastor Stuart Briscoe tells about something that happened many years ago when his children were small.

The family was taking a drive through the English countryside and came to a field where there was some freshly fallen snow on the ground. Pastor Briscoe got out of the car, jumped over the fence, and ran around in a big circle, striding as wide as he could, leaving his footprints in the snow.

Then, he turned to his children and said, “Now, I want you to follow in my footsteps. Put your feet wherever I put my feet in the snow.”

The oldest, David, couldn’t quite make it. Judy, the middle child and an overachiever, was certain she could do it, but she couldn’t match her father’s steps. Pete, the youngest, ran with all of his might, put his foot in his father’s first footprint, stepped out as far as he could, and fell on his face.

His mother picked him up as he cried, looked at her husband, and said, “What are you trying to do?”

Pastor Briscoe said, “I’m trying to get a sermon illustration!”

Then he said, “Pete, come here.” He picked up Peter, put Peter’s left foot on his own left foot, and his right foot on his own right foot, and then said, “Okay, Pete, let’s go.” As the father began to take one big step after another, he held his son up with his hands, and his son’s feet rested lightly on his.

Briscoe asks: “Well, who was doing it? In a sense, he was doing it because I was doing it. In a sense there was a commitment of the little boy to the big dad, and some of the properties of the big dad were working through the little boy.”

In the same way, we are powerless to match the steps of our heavenly Father or His Son, Jesus Christ. The good news is, God’s Holy Spirit lives in us and empowers us so that, as we trust in Him and commit ourselves to Him, He will empower us to take the steps He want us to take.

We are spiritually powerless. We can’t manufacture our own spiritual strength, generate our own peace, create our own joy, achieve our own righteousness, or earn our own salvation. The good news is, we don’t have to! When we are depending on Him, He will live His life through us.

Have a great day and keep moving forward!