Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Back in the ‘90’s, “What would Jesus do?” was all the rage. The phrase came from the subtitle of Charles Sheldon’s 1896 book In His Steps, a novel that sold over 30 million copies. WWJD caught on with young people and thousands of bracelets and bumper stickers were sold. In 2010, a movie called What Would Jesus Do? told the story of a drifter whose needs were ignored until someone thought, “What would Jesus do?” and took action. Serving caught on, the church woke up and lives were changed.
Although I never wore a bracelet, I loved the WWJD movement. But as my kids got older and sometimes acted out, I realized there weren’t many specifics about what Jesus would do in those situations since he didn’t have kids. Same for marriage or dealing with aging parents. In many ways, asking “What would Jesus do?” required imagination and was open to interpretation. For instance, my sister and I would have come to opposite conclusions as to what Jesus would do if confronted by a teenager with an unwanted pregnancy.
So, I came up with an alternative . . . “What would Jesus have me do?” That question got a little more in my face. Instead of hypothesizing about a young Jewish man living in a different millennium in a culture I don’t understand, this question led me to make it more personal. But when I stopped and thought about it, this question didn’t make sense either. Who is the question being asked of? Am I asking God? Jesus is God, so it’s like saying “George, what would George have me do?” That seemed a little crazy.
Then a few years ago, I learned to ask God directly “Lord, what would you have me know about this situation?” Amazingly, He’s often ready to answer. What He shows me is about the heart, either mine or the person I’m asking about. He leads me to patience, kindness, understanding, compassion and self-control. Sometimes I need more, so I’ll ask, “Lord, what would you have me do with what you’ve shown me?” Often that little prayer gets answered with an unction . . . a leading . . . a next step. Every time I obey, my faith gets stronger and often, it brings a ‘God-sized’ blessing.
The problem is seeing the people around us, stopping to bring God into the situation, listening to His voice, and then obeying without question. God will never direct you to do something that’s inconsistent with His Word and usually obeying requires faith . . . doing the right thing and trusting Him for the outcome. As we mature in our faith, we’re able to distinguish His voice from our own self-talk. The more we push ourselves to trust and obey, the louder and clearer His voice becomes.
I believe this is what ‘abiding in Christ’ is all about. I believe this is what ‘walking with God’ is. I believe this is what ‘following Jesus’ is all about. I believe it’s way better than “What would Jesus do?”
Scripture: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)