Walking Where Jesus Walked . . . For Real – by Stephen W. Hill

One of my continual disaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAppointments as I meet so many professing “believers,” is their complete oblivion to New Covenant life,  living, and reality. Christians by the score persistently seek various external rituals, experiences, and stimuli to take their faith to some supposed “higher level” or deeper spirituality. Apparently, the Indwelling Holy Spirit, being united with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, sharing His glory (John 17:21-23) and being seated with Him in the heavenlies, and giving our lives for our neighbors and the world, etc. are not enough for Western Christians. No wonder popular culture western evangelicalism is insipid, spiritually impotent, and irrelevant.

The question is not whether or not God can “speak to us,” “bless us,” or “touch us” with various externals. Of course, He can. I can be brought to tears and an encounter with the manifest presence of God by contemplating a tree! That is not the point. The issue is a spiritual yearning for fulfillment that tries to be satisfied outside of Jesus Christ, Him crucified, living in and through us. That can’t be improved upon, and doesn’t need any window dressing. The issue is looking in all the wrong places for some sort of higher spiritual satisfaction, which is a misguided form of spirituality for believers: idolatry-“lite” . . .  maybe not so lite, if anti-christ is understood as “instead of Christ.”

My good friend, Stephen W. Hill, from Ontario, Canada (www.harvest-now.org) summed up this matter so concisely with a recent example from his experience, that I wanted him to guest-blog herein:

Recently a friend from the majority world asked me for help to make a trip to Israel.  He had sold his motorcycle and pawned his wife’s wedding ring, but was still $1700 short of the $3,000 he needed for the trip.  He was going with a group that assured him that “walking where Jesus walked” was an experience that would change his life forever.   Really?  My response to his request was four fold:

Number one, I will not help you, or anyone else go to Israel for a “holy land tour.”

Secondly, much of the Western Church is based in a consumer mentality with its leadership seeking to provide its members with “good experiences” for them to consume.  They package those experiences in  spiritual terms,  but the context is not the Kingdom of God.   The context is the consumer society which functions  to provide pleasurable, entertaining programs and events that consumers will pay to experience.  Those events may be “worship” in a contemporary style with advanced sound systems, expert musicians, and motivational speaking, “holy land” trips and even (might I say?)  short term mission adventure tours.

Thirdly, we are not Moslems with their Mecca, Catholics with St. Peters in Rome, Mormons with their temple in Utah, Hindus with the Ganges River, or Jews with their wailing wall.  We are followers of Jesus who celebrate that the Triune God by the Holy Spirit indwells each one of us and makes us His temple.  It is a characteristic of all religions that the presence of god is associated with a place where access to the presence can be controlled for money by a professional priesthood.  The first martyr of the Kingdom of God was killed for declaring that “God no longer dwells in temples made with hands.”  With that declaration the temple priests saw their positions of power and privilege made redundant and reacted murderously.  We do not go to any physical place to find God but declare that He reveals Himself to all men by the Holy Spirit and thus access to His presence cannot be purchased or controlled.

And finally, if you wish to walk where Jesus walked, simply continue what you are doing in serving the least and the last.   Jesus walked among the broken, the outcasts, the prostitutes, and lepers.  We serve this same Jesus, who declared that whatever we have done unto the least, we have done unto Him.   This is not about you going to Israel [or anywhere for that matter] and having a life changing experience.  Your life has already changed in the only way that really matters: you have been taken from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His love.  This is about you changing the lives of the people around you.  You are doing that.  Keep walking with Jesus where you are.  The Kingdom context is simple and often costly obedience  for the benefit of others.

This friend agreed with my counsel, bought back his motorcycle, redeemed his wife’s wedding band, and continues to walk where Jesus walked.
It is a privilege  to walk with such a brother.

Reprinted with permission from the author.


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17 comments on “Walking Where Jesus Walked . . . For Real – by Stephen W. Hill

  1. Thank you, to both Stephans . I had someone tell me “everyone should go on a holy land tour at least once. I thought what if you can’t go, then what, am I missing something super important. I was a new Christian and didn’t know much. Thank you for putting this in perspective.

  2. Thanks so much for this Steve. I’m writing from Israel now where we are sitting with numbers of Church leaders, many who don’t understand the New Covenant in Jesus blood and are content with the historic past. It’s breaking my heart to see the lack of unity. May their eyes be open to truth.
    Interesting that so many of them want to come to America to see what “real” Christianity is like.

  3. Whenever I hear of a “spiritual” trip to Israel I’m reminded of Jesus’s comment to Thomas. Jesus said to him, Because you have seen me you have belief: a blessing will be on those who have belief though they have not seen me!
    (John 20:29 BBE).
    I’d much rather spend 5 days with a couple guys and their wives like you Steven in a relatively safe, fun, atmosphere. (cruise) than caught up in a holy war region any part of the Globe…Blessings

  4. Love it – so true. You are describing partaking of the “abundant life” that Jesus shared about (John 10:10) and also the realization of what relationship with Jesus really can be – it is so freeing and so liberating.

    A couple things that resonated in me as I read this great post;

    That God is the source. It is not about our methods or our faith – where we have the Lord doing our bidding; where we live with the religious paradigm that as we do (demand) God will be there at our “beck and call” This is looking at a walk with the Lord being boiled down to a cause and effect level – that “if “I do or say a certain thing, “then” God will do. This is such a limited perspective of the unlimited and infinite nature of our Lord.

    The whole notion of “seed faith” that would try to tell us that as we initiate something that the Lord then will come through for us. This is wrong, it does not begin with us, it begins with Him – “freely you have received, so freely give” Again recognizing God as the source.

    Jer 2:13
    “For My people have committed two evils:
    They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
    And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

    Isn’t this a clear representation of where so many walk? I know I was stuck in this for years. Instead of tapping into the living waters (John 7:38) I tried and worked so hard to create my own works and methods. This verse is a powerful picture of the vanity of religion, and the richness of the Lord.

    Again, thanks for sharing this inspiration. Blessings to both of you 🙂

  5. Yea Steve I have long time been disappointed in the way so called modern day Christians conduct themselves but the only thing I know to do is live my life under the governorship of gods spirit being in me and look for chances to disscus the issue with them praying ferverently for god to open them up to spirit realities–however I usually meet up with disappointment …it seems that most do not want to hear about it–I for sure loved your post.

  6. I just came back from my weekly Holy Land tour. What a joyI got to get up early in the morning and drive 45 minutes to the back of a Publix where I loaded bread and pastries for the poor. Then I started my 75 mile route to deliver the goods to a school for needy kids, a Christian halfway house for men amd various other poor homes. Except for the gas it was all free but I always feel Him walking right beside me. Cheapest Holy Land trip I know!

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