Like many others, I was affected and convicted deeply many years ago by a little novel written in 1896 by Charles Sheldon entitled, In His Steps. In it he imagined how Christians might act differently if, in any given situation, they would ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” Even today we encounter the “WWJD” thinking. But that novel left a big question in my mind at the time – “How can I really know what Jesus would do?” This led me to the following title which has had an even greater impact on my understanding, life and teaching than In His Steps. It is a book which actually answers in large part the central question raised by In His Steps.
I originally found Me Be Like Jesus?, by Leslie B. Flynn sometime in the late 1970s in a local Christian bookstore. It apparently has a storied history, but it continues to address a need among those of us who want to grasp more fully how to be like our Lord Jesus. It was first published in 1962 in hardcover by Zondervan under the title, The Power of Christlike Living. The paperback was later reprinted numerous times by Victor Books under the title I knew it by: Me Be Like Jesus?
Around 1995 I was even able to contact Mr. Flynn, a Baptist minister in upstate New York state, because I could no longer find copies to give away to others. He told me he hoped some new publisher would bring it back into print. And it has now been printed again (1997 to present) by Magnus Press (San Jose, CA) under the title, Jesus in the Image of God. It is available now through Christian Book Distributors. Personally, I liked the older titles as best describing its content, but the current version has only minor changes in content from the earlier printings. But enough of its provenance; what is it about?
To quote from author Flynn’s Preface:
But what is Christlikeness? It is not physical resemblance, not cultural similarity, nor following Him in every outward circumstance, nor conjecturing what Jesus would do in certain cases. Rather, Christlikeness is to have the mind of Christ, to catch His spirit, to cultivate His qualities, to apply His attitudes to every condition.
The imitation of Jesus is a New Testament imperative. The Gospels and Epistles spotlight qualities in Jesus’ life which we are commanded to imitate in our own Christian walk. This book singles out several such traits, and helps us see more clearly these specific ways to demonstrate Christlikeness.
In 11 chapters Mr. Flynn shows that we are called to be like Jesus (“conformed to His likeness” – Romans 8:29) in 10 very specific ways. Here is perhaps the best known example: love one another. He commanded that we love each other as He loved us (John 13:34) Paul urged the Ephesian Christians to imitate Jesus in this quality in Ephesians 5:1. Space does not permit me to show how the author amplifies this quality, and each of the other nine in a very biblical and practical way.
My encouragement to you is to purchase this book! And if you are a preacher or small group leader, plan on teaching its principles to others! It is one of the most practical studies you can do on Christian living!
Addendum: Leslie Flynn passed away in 2006. He was the author of 43 books, and a minister for the Grace Baptist Church in Nanuet, NY for 40 years.
I first wrote this post in 2012, but have updated and now reprinted it.