“What would Jesus do?” Remember the bracelets? And what a great question! The idea was lifted from a (very old) book called In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon. This short little book was first published in 1896 and has sold over 30 million copies. Talking about shelf life!
Asking what Jesus would do is intuitive for the mature believer who’s studied the Scriptures. But for the less mature . . . the less Biblically grounded, it requires a little guesswork, especially when it comes to specific questions like dealing with your wife or raising kids since Jesus didn’t do either. It assumes one knows what Jesus would do or would take the time to ask around.
For years, I thought a better question was “What would Jesus have me do?” Now that one’s hard to avoid. Yes, a grounding in the life and teachings of Jesus is still a ‘must’ to get to the best answer fast. But this one covers more ground. It’s still hypothetical but it’s more personal and maybe a little more convicting. If we stop and think about it, the Holy Spirit might just nudge us toward a right course of individual action if we humbly ask that question before we act.
But why guess? Why not ask Him? “Jesus, what would you have me do?” Sure, it’s fraught with danger. Silence rattles our faith . . . when we ask Jesus a direct question and He’s silent, it’s easy to question our faith and maybe our sanity. Satan, the father of lies, often counterfeits God’s voice, leaving us misled and confused. When we’re not sure we’ve heard from God, we’ll start listening to our own self-talk, often convincing ourselves that it’s God. Not good.
When we bring “Jesus, what would you have me do?” before our Father with a humble heart that’s full of faith . . . when we’re asking Him questions about ‘heart issues,’ not about buying new cars or planning big trips . . . we get answers. Sometimes the answer is ‘yes,’ sometimes ‘no,’ sometimes ‘crickets.’ It’s that silence which usually translates to ‘not now’ or ‘you know the answer already.’ Hearing silence and deciding to wait has helped me avoid tons of mistakes. Remember, He’s the perfect Father. He loves us. He’s growing us, developing our ‘faith muscle,’ teaching us what to pray for and how to ‘hear’ His voice in the noise of our minds and spirits.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
I’m told the original word for ‘rule’ here is the same root word that describes the decision of an umpire in baseball or an arbitrator in business. Both rule for one side or the other. Out or safe . . . nothing in between. If you ask, “Jesus, what would you have me do?” about a certain situation, ‘listen’ for peace in your heart (if not words in your spirit). If the answer seems wise to you (and your wise counselors), if you have a peace about it and it doesn’t conflict with Scripture, then it’s Him and you know what to do. If the answer you ‘hear’ lacks any of these, then it’s a ‘no’ or a ‘not now.’ Maybe the most important part of hearing Jesus’ direction is our obedience. Blessings almost always follow obedience.
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