In His Steps

APPLICATION WRITTEN BY

What does it really mean to be a Christian? In His Steps was the first to ask “What would Jesus do? and quickly became a classic Christian novel and one of the best-selling books of all time. This story of a small group of church members who pledged themselves to a new step of faith that would change, not just a handful of people, but an entire town-for good. Written in 1898, it remains the single greatest challenge to individual believers to mirror Christ in their daily lives.

Key Topics or Truths

Being a disciple
Being conformed to Christ
Choosing well
Applying God’s useful truths to living

This Book is Good For...

People who want to be disciples or those that have no practical idea of what a disciple is.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

In His Steps is a great novel. It is very easy to read. The story reflects the challenges faced and the joy of following God by adjusting our personal, family, and business lives to God’s truths. Disciples cannot read it without questioning why they became followers and what they will do with their faith. The story provides plenty of examples of how to discover God’s truths that apply to daily choices. It also provides a balanced view of hearing from God in His word and through His Spirit.

I use it between tough reads and study guides, preferably in Discipleship One. In His Steps provides a bridge from a growing awareness Jesus’ life and God’s useful truths to our responsibility to take action. It calls the disciples to action in Steps One and Two of the Discipleship Pathway as God convicts them to do good. I also use it to move disciples from Enlightened to Service (steps 4 and 5 on the pathway). Discussing In His Steps reinforces and guide disciples to think about:

  • Their God-given freedom to choose,
  • The personal benefit of living the life of Christ,
  • The call to be a real follower of God, and
  • How the truths of God are useful in daily life and business.

In His Steps, for those who have not yet read it, works well to call people from Step 8 on the pathway, Prepared, to Consecrate themselves to God, discipleship, and His work. There are many examples in the story of mature Christians who “sell out” to following God.

Some of my peers have disciples discuss the book along the way. I have disciples read the entire book and then spend time discussing the truths and challenges of the story.

This was the first Christian novel that I read. I found it among my grandmother’s library while staying with her in my freshman college year. I was unsaved but the words in this book echoed in my heart when I became a Christian pushing me to commit to not just get saved but to commit to a life that honored, reflected, and shared Christ. It is simply the single greatest challenge to live my faith.

Real Life Story

Sheldon wrote and presented this story chapter by chapter on Sunday NIghts to call his congregation to follow God in their daily lives. He was calling them to a deep, meaningful, transforming faith. And it worked. Sheldon’s church members changed as they responded to the call to choose God in daily situations. Their community was deeply impacted and many became followers. Story after story can be told of Christians whose faith became “real” to them through the words of this book.

Know Issues or Controversies

No known controversies.

There is no doubt that modern marketing made the message of this book shallow. But Sheldon’s work is enduring and in no way shallow.

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Charles Sheldon
Book Details
Reading Time
Three to four weeks
Related Reads

This book is great after Quick Smart Start and Search for Significance. It provides an easy reading break that is powerful close to the halfway point of Discipleship One. It pairs well with the more clinical reads of Improving Your Serve or How to PrayI do not precede or follow this with other easy reads like The Tender Commandments or Ruthless TrustIn Discipleship Two, I precede or follow it with tougher calls to live out our faith like Mere Christianity and Sit, Walk, Stand.

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