I could not help but chuckle a few days ago when I secretly observed my son standing in my ball shoes, wearing my hat and glove, boldly proclaiming to his sister, “Look at me. I look just like daddy.” Such a thought is both humbling and humorous. While you see the compliment in the words, you also are brought face to face with the responsibility you have with your life. Would we ever truly want someone to follow in our shoes? Scary thought huh?
One of my favorite characters in scripture is David. He is the only person in all of the Bible whose epitaph reads, “A Man after God’s Own Heart.” Tucked away in those words recorded in I Samuel 13:14 is the secret to his anointing; he dared to walk in God’s footsteps. In doing so, he discovered a side of God few of us will ever experience this side of eternity. Such bold faith neither made him perfect nor invincible. However, his life shook the attention of Heaven. Exactly what would it take for God to notice us? Is it conceivable that we could even walk in His footsteps today?
If we truly desire to walk in God’s footsteps, we must walk closely. Footprints are not easily discernable at a distance and loose their imprint over time. The very passion of David’s heart was to be wherever God was. It is this very characteristic alone that sends the masses cowardly scampering back to camp. To be where God is may call for dark, shadowy valleys or lead us into a land of “giant” obstacles. Just how far are you willing to go in pursuit of God’s footsteps?
We must walk courageously. Where God chooses to step, you will find few, if any, other footsteps. How was David able to endure the years of solitude and isolation while running from Saul? He had already practiced the presence of God during the lonely nights in Bethlehem tending sheep. How you and I spend our time today in obscurity may very well determine what we are trusted with tomorrow. It was in those fields, with only God as his audience, that David perfected the playing of the harp and mastered the use of the sling. One won the heart of a king and let him observe the throne. The other won the heart of the people and placed him on the throne.
We must walk captivatingly. God was all he saw and all he had. It is so sad how we have lost being captivated by God today. While we are still the apple of his eye, He has merely become the stigmatism in ours. David never had time to attribute his triumphs and successes to himself because he never lost the awe of God. Most of us can never see God simply because He is overshadowed by our presence in the mirror. If we would desire to walk in God’s footsteps, there will inevitably come a day where few can offer advice or directions, and if we are not captivated with God and His ability, we will find our ability can take us to where our character cannot sustain us.
Finally, we must walk candidly. To walk in God’s footsteps will demand carrying as little “baggage” as possible. Hidden weights will only serve to slow us down in difficult terrain. David lived a life that was an open book before God. Why? He simply cared what God thought. Psalm 78 tells us a main reason David was chosen; “..the integrity of his heart.” He walked humbly, honestly, and honorably before God. Even though there were moments marred by sin in his life, what set him apart was the sensitivity he had toward that sin and his willingness to stand up and be accountable to God for it.
Can I confess to you, I want to be a man just like that. Why? Because in the shadows of my basement, there is a 6 year old and a 4 year old desiring to walk in my shoes. I want to leave them “shoes” that are leaving an imprint worthy of walking in. They will merely be leather covers to them if my feet do not stay on the pathway still warm from the footprints of Jesus.
©2004 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.