Walking like Jesus in 2009


“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

These are some pretty strong words from the book of 1 John for those of who claim to be in Christ.  So what does walking as Jesus did look like for us today?  

Ed Dobson talks about his year long journey to live like Jesus in this short 3 minute interview. Check it out and share your thoughts about Ed’s decision, agree or disagree, and how you plan to walk like Jesus in 2009.




Filed under Discipleship

20 responses to “Walking like Jesus in 2009

  1. Interesting video. One problem, we are not called to live as Jesus lived, but to “Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

    Jesus is the Messiah, the Judge of the world. Every knee shall bow… If in our living like Jesus we ask people to bow to our authority we’d be called meglomaniac dictators.

    Jesus also never claimed to be merely an earthly example for us to imitate – he claimed far more. He is the Incarnate Christ. We are not called to live as the Incarnate Christ.

    I don’t want to be harsh, because on the face of it this man’s journey is an entertaining side-show. But there is a danger… once again we are reducing Jesus to “moralisms”. Live like Jesus (e.g. love your enemies) and you shall be saved. That is NOT in scripture.

  2. Chris hit it on all points.

    We can certainly walk out the life that Jesus Christ lived and commanded us to do. Many people take this as though it is enough for not only our salvation but the fact we are “doing” is enough to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who don’t know Him.

    How about:
    1. We repent of our sin
    2. We believe upon Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior
    3. Let Him do the work in our hearts in order for us to start producing good fruit
    4. Proclaim the gospel.
    5. Rinse, lather and repeat over and over again.

  3. denisemorris

    Chris and Joe:

    I think the point is that many Christians believe the right things but don’t attempt to follow the commands of Christ. We all know that we are to believe that Jesus is the son of God and repent from our sins. What we forget is that the Bible tells us that whoever loves Him will obey His commands. We forget that whoever claims to be in Him must walk as Jesus walked. That may not mean eating kosher, but I would assume that it means following the commands He did give, like loving Him and loving our neighbor. I think we often boil everything down to belief, when it is clear throughout Scripture that what we do is important as well. They go hand in hand. Like James reminded us that we must show our faith by what we do.

    Living as Jesus lived obviously doesn’t mean going around and proclaiming ourselves to be the son of God. But Scripture is clear that it means obeying His commands which include loving those around us, including our enemies, as Ed Dobson was talking about.

  4. Denise,

    I don’t know if (quoting from you) “we all know that we are to believe the Jesus is the son of God and repent from our sins.”

    I live in Massachusetts where most of my neighbors strive to “live like Jesus”. They are good parents, active in helping the poor and downtrodden, they love their enemies (protest for Gaza, and close Guantanamo), go to church (mostly Unitarian or UCC), but they most emphatically do not “believe that Jesus is the son of God”, nor do they believe they are sinners in need of a Saviour. But they do believe they are good Christians.

    It may seem strange – but in this part of the country we have lots of good people, (many better me). What we don’t have is sinners in need of salvation – willing to bend the knee and worship the Incarnate Christ, Son of God.

    In general – I understand your point and it is a good one. I’m responding to the video that once again portrayed Christianity, WWJD as “being a good person like Jesus was”.

  5. Pingback: Where’s Your Chutzpah? « Denise Morris

  6. Erin

    I am a second year student at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, part of Cornerstone University, where Dr. Dobson serves. I think Dr. Dobson’s choice to live like Jesus may have alot to do with the fact that he’s dying of ALS. Maybe he was trying to get to know his Savior better – who he will probably meet in the near future. Also, he never condemned those who have not spent a year trying to be like Jesus, yet we feel free to critique his actions.

    Check out another blog by a GRTS instructor for more discussion:

    • jeffabel

      Some follow up. First, thanks to you who have entered into the discussion- this is the best part about blogging. I want to take a few seconds to respond to some of the comments and in doing so share a few of my thoughts.

      Chris- I must disagree with your statement that we are not called to live like Jesus lived. See the passage of Scripture that I started the blog with. I’m pretty sure that is not referring to wearing sandals. : ) Scripture is clear that we are not capable of living to the standard that God set’s before us, and that belief in Christ is how to come into a right relationship with God. However, it also calls us to obedience and to be holy as He is holy. That passage is not about what we believe, but how we live. As for your follow up comment – I agree that one can interpret the video as “being a good person like Jesus was” but I don’t think that was his intent.

      Joe – I agree many interpret the Scripture and think that living like Jesus is enough. Actually it is, but the problem is we can’t fully do that. Also, if you look at Jesus commands more of them involve doing than telling – I’m just saying. Telling is important, but that does not excuse us from doing- and often times the church seems to think it does. “We” (the collective evangelical church) seem to be more concerned about souls than people and to me that sounds like Plato more than than Jesus.

      Denise – I agree that the point was to look at our actions and see if they line up with Jesus commands. Your statement “we all know” was, i think, meant to refer believers (Christians, Christ-followers, however you want to word it) but Chris context of living in the North East bring a different cultural perspective to Ed’s words. I think you hit on what Ed meant – but he did not spell it out out as clearly as I would have liked in the interview.

      Erin – thanks for putting the story in it’s original context. I was able to spend a little over a week with Ed and his son in Israel almost 3 years ago. I know Ed’s heart and I know what Ed believes about salvation. Not having any context in the video allows for many interpretations of his words and actions, just like each of ours. If you see Ed, tell him I said hi.

      Again thanks for sharing your thoughts on the video. However, no one has answered the second part of the question – How do you plan to walk as Jesus walked, or to clarify the intent of the question, to follow him more closely in ’09?

  7. Please don’t take comments on the current trends to “live like Jesus” to be a critique on any one person. Our President-elect often answers questions about his faith by saying he tries to live like Jesus, follow the Golden Rule etc.

    You can’t criticize anyone for wanting to be forgiving, love their enemies, be a servant to all. That is the message of moralistic theism. It is good, but it is not salvation for sinners, no matter how good they try to be, or even how biblical they are

    That’s what provoked the comments. Remember no context was given to the video, therefore no judgment was made on the speaker. The lack of context, the lack of a gospel message – made it a standalone, for a provocative (in a good way, makes us think) blog post.

  8. I plan to adhere more to the Great Commission which talks about making disciples and teaching them to, for the sake of the blog, walk as Jesus did. There fore, my wife and I intend to evangelize, spreading the Gospel. I expect God will bless us with some to study the Bible with over the next year….

    It is hard, and some, in our litle church here in Hawaii are better than others at that. Matt 28:18-20 is such a hard scripture to abide by that some churches who USED to stress it, have now removed it from their websites and weekly biblical teachings.

    FYI, I believe that a disciple is a Christian, a Christian is a Disciple since there are so few references to Christians in the Bible anyway. Actually the very scarce uses of the label ‘Christians’ were negative in the New Testament.

    Nice topic.

    Meanwhile, as an employee, right now, I intend to get back to work for my employer. Darn Twitter……:) Rick

  9. With a sense of humor… let me say I don’t plan on eating Kosher, growing a beard, or voting for the candidate I think Jesus would vote for.

    But as J. Gresham Machen commented in Christianity and Liberalism:
    ”Paul was convinced of the objective truth of the gospel message, and devotion to that truth was the great passion of his life. Christianity for Paul was not only a life, but also a doctrine, and logically the doctrine came first”

    I hope to meditate and learn more of the objective truth of the gospel. As the gospel truth penetrates – I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to sanctify me, transform me – so that I may have the mind of Christ and imitate the REAL Jesus.

    • jeffabel

      Chris, I think passing on the beard is a good idea : ). As for the REAL Jesus, I’m not sure exactly what you meant and don’t want to make any assumptions so would you mind clarifying?

  10. Sorry, I’m channeling Machen – I’ve been engrossed in a study so I’m half responding here and half thinking through Machen. So you were only getting half my thoughts.
    Let me just quote, rather then channel. This is what I meant:

    “Very different is the imitation of the real Jesus–the Jesus of the New Testament who actually lived in the first century of our era. That Jesus advanced lofty claims; but His claims, instead of being the extravagant dreams of an enthusiast, were sober truth. On His lips, therefore, language which in the reduced Jesus of modern reconstruction would be frenzied or absurd becomes fraught with blessing for mankind. Jesus demanded that those who followed Him should be willing to break even the holiest ties–He said, “If a man cometh to me and hateth not his father and mother . . . he cannot be my disciple,” and “Let the dead bury their dead.” Coming from the mere prophet constructed by modern liberalism, those words would be monstrous; coming from the real Jesus, they are sublime. How great was the mission of mercy which justified such words! And how wonderful the condescension of the eternal Son! How matchless an example for the children of men! Well might Paul appeal to the example of the incarnate Savior; well might he say, “Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The imitation of the real Jesus will never lead a man astray”

    –J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism.

  11. My 2 cents – I don’t care what the guy did. It’s a distraction to be concerned about it. He did it, it’s documented, we won’t change it.
    If you need my theology…The He misses the mark completely. A walk in history has nothing to do with a relationship with Jesus Christ. at the same time, I’d like to see you try it.

  12. Jennifer DuBois

    Just a few thoughts on the matter:

    I think it’s cool to think about the flip side of the matter. The video is about walking a year in Jesus’ sandals, but He spent 33 years walking in ours. What an amazing God we serve! When He intercedes before the Father on our behalf, He does it from experience.

    As to the question of living it, I think some valid concerns have been brought up, and really, what’s been said seems to be two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, we cannot neglect belief; and, on the other, we cannot forget to live it out. But to try to separate the two or to put one before the other is unnecessary. Our true belief will be known by the action that WILL flow from it. It’s like Del Tackett’s (Focus on the Family Institute) haunting question: Do you really believe that what you believe is really real? The implication is that if you did, if you really believed, then you’d live that way.

    In the every day terms of that question, it means waking up every day and reorienting yourself towards your true end– to glorify God, pointing your heart towards Him at each turn.

  13. This is taking “Walking like Jesus” to far – I think we’ll all agree:

    (Jeff, my blogs are down – hijacked by hackers, otherwise I’d trackback to keep conversation going – sorry to post the link here, but I didn’t want this link missed for those who are following your blog conversation).

  14. jeffabel

    Chris, Doug and Jennifer – thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts.

    I am really enjoying the ongoing conversation but want to re-direct us a bit back to the question of what does/should it look like to follow Jesus today. What are your thoughts on the practical implications on your day to day life of walking like Jesus? If you were watching someone “walk like Jesus” today, what would that look like?

  15. Very interesting comments everyone! Glad to see so many people actually “thinking” about what it means to follow and live like Christ. I think that there is one factor that seems to have been missing from this discussion, though, and that is the fact Jesus was all about the “little people”, the down-trodden, outcasts and neglected.

    To truly live like Jesus in this day, is to not place so much importance on the mere speculation or even explanation of doctrinal truths…but to simply put them to use so that people don’t have to suffer: suffer the pain of guilt, suffer the pain of needless poverty, suffer the pain of feeling left behind by a society too advanced to make room for them.

    I hear so many people, good Christians, arguing over things (mind, valid things) like Predestination or various eschatologies…while they can feel completely unmoved by the fact that thousands are dying in an unjust war…or that Christians are perceived as some of the most ignorant and intolerant people on the planet! I think to live like Jesus…to truly live like Him, is to find that perfect balance between a sound theology that is accurate…while also having a sound practice (in whatever sphere God has placed you) of being the blessing that people need.

    For example:
    I don’t think Jesus would raise undue attention to holiday slogans, whether we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays…since what’s important is the fellowship it represents. I think living like Jesus would mean not contributing to that rhetoric…and instead helping those who are poor and hungry and cold.

    I don’t think Jesus would spend days arguing over which translation of the (English) Bible we should be using…but would focus on teaching everyone how to read it, and make it freely available to them. I don’t think Jesus would ever charge for one single Bible or tool that could help people make it into the Kingdom of God. EVER.

    So…what does it mean to really live like Jesus? I think it means doing everything differently than our flesh would suggest, turning our back on the common conventions of the world, and doing what helps people and gives God glory (which everything glorifies God in some way!).

  16. Ben

    Want to know what it means to “walk as Jesus did”? Read all of 1st John. That’s what the letter is about. Ignore the chapter and verse markers and read the entire letter from start to finish.

    Walking like Jesus doesn’t mean wearing sandals, observing holidays, or most of the things mentioned in the video. Walking like Jesus also doesn’t mean that we are expected to be sinless, perform miracles, or preach to thousands from a mountaintop.

    “It is not Christ’s walking on the sea, but His ordinary walk, that we are called on to imitate.” – Martin Luther

    We are instructed to love God and our brothers in the faith. We are called to love like Jesus loved through sacrificial living. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16)

    John also makes it clear that it is the Holy Spirit, and not our own abilities, or instruction from the right teachers, that enables us to love and obey.

    So, walking like Jesus has nothing to do with a self-righteous attempt to be perfect. Walking like Jesus is following the direction of the Holy Spirit to love.

  17. Ben


    Don’t want to take things too far off track. I do not think there’s only one (or even only a few) good English Bible translations. However, there are varying degrees of goodness and badness in the available Bible translations. There are some ‘translations’ out there that I view as exercises in creative writing. There are some that I don’t take as authority but find useful as commentaries.

    So, while I agree that we shouldn’t get wrapped up in internal bickering with brothers & sisters over non-essentials: we need to be careful to not accept anything labeled “Christian” as good or Godly. My wife tells stories of being led astray at a time she thought everything in the Christian bookstore was good and correct. We need to discern good from bad. (Which is related to people learning how to read it.)

    That being said, we are commanded to love. We should not expect the world to behave as we like and argue with them over protocol. (Not that I don’t find some of today’s political correctness ridiculous.) Christians, of all people, should understand the nature of this sinful world.

    I am saddened when the world views the church as a self-righteous, and self-centered, group that wants to make the world follow its rules. I’d prefer that they see the love of Christ reflected by the church.

    The Apostle Paul tells us that knowledge of God is a smell of death to some and an aroma of life to others.

    “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

    So while some are going to be offended by the church no matter what (just as some were offended by Jesus), walking as Jesus walked entails letting the light and smell of God be reflected in our lives.

    We can’t make the world love us, but we can love them.

    Self-righteousness masquerading as the aroma of Christ stinks. (This is what the commandment about taking God’s name in vain is really about.)

    I pray that God uses me for his glory ’cause I ain’t got any.


  18. I think the NIV Bible, written so that a 10 year old can understand is sufficient for gaining knowledge.

    I agree that there are things in ‘Christian Bookstores’ that can lead people astray.

    The term Christian is so watered down these days. I believe that if you asked 100 on the street if they are Christians, perhaps 80 would say yes, maybe more.

    Ask those 80 how they became Christians, and stuttering/stammering, uhhhh, welllll, would ensue.

    I think the general consensus of what ‘Christian’ means is that they are a good person. That’s different according to individual values, and not based on the Bible usually.

    So, I feel that for those that want to really study the Bible and find out what disciples of Christ and the followers of Christ went through back in the day. For those that want to actually follow what those believers did to become disciples, lets commence strudying…

    Or (at least) hundreds of thousands are going to continue to assume that by following traditions started in the 1800/1900s in the US…. that they are saved.

    Christ was not called a Christian. His disciples were called that in a derogatory way and the term appears 3 times in the NT. To find out what a disciple is, I can get people in touch with anyone to study that out. The term disciple appears 270 times in the New Testament.

    Did I open up a can of worms???