Friday, August 14, 2009

What Would Jesus Do?

One trap that you and I can fall into in thinking about life with God is the formula mindset. Formulas are like recipes. If you follow the formula carefully you will get the same result every time. Here are some formulas you and I might get tripped up by:

1) If we keep God’s law we will prosper
This is always true...spiritually. But it isn’t always true materially. People often go through some very rough experiences, not because they've sinned, but because they were completely obedient to God -- the Lord Jesus is a case in point.

What you and I need to guard against is feeling put out with God when we think He has unfairly allowed us to suffer when we were being so good. And we need to guard against jumping to the conclusion that our brother or sister in Christ is being punished by God when they are going through a rough time. Punishment and pruning hurt the same, but they are very different spiritual activities.

2) If we raise our children right they will come out right
Statistically this statement is true. But the whole truth is that you and I live in a broken world full of sin and full of sinners. Every one of us must come to God individually, and confess our own sins. Your child, and my child, must come before God themselves. Being brought up in the Lord, with lots of love and lots of good scriptural training gives your child, and mine, a wonderful advantage. But ultimately you and I can’t give them a relationship with Jesus. That is between them and God.

3) If we pray the right way God will give us what we’ve asked for
And it’s true that God says to pray in all things, what you ask in Jesus’ name He will give, persevere in asking, sometimes you and I must consider fasting and praying. But the whole truth is that sometimes God’s answer to prayer is the word “No,” because God knows your life, and He knows you. Sometimes “No” is the best possible answer, and will bring the greatest good in your life. No matter how fervently, how persevering and how sacrificial the prayer, sometimes God will not give what is being asked of Him.

4) If our heart motivation is right, then what we do is right
Wrong. This is no better than being a rule follower. If all you and I do is check to see if we think our heart is in the right place, then we are using a formula that leaves out God. The Lord Jesus often said He did only what the Father gave HIm to do and He said only what the Father gave Him to say. Sometimes we even get to see this worked out before our very eyes. Remember when Mary, Jesus' mother, asked Him to do something about the wine crisis at the wedding in Cana? Jesus told her His time hadn't come yet. But the Father intervened, as we know, because right after that Jesus did something about the wine.

Remember when Jesus' brothers asked Him to go with them to Jerusalem for the Feast? Jesus told them He wasn't going. But the Father intervened, and later, quietly, Jesus did go. The Bible doesn't say "the Father intervened," but we can know He did because the Son changed course. Jesus' heart was always in the right place, being without sin. But that alone did not determine what He did. He was intimately, organically connected with the Father at all times through the Spirit and that is how He ended up doing and saying what He did.

How do you and I know how to answer the question "What Would Jesus Do?" By NOT following a formula mindset. Instead, Colossians 2, "hold fast to the Head" and receive directly from Christ, in Whom is the full Deity, what to say and do.

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment and join the conversation

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