Some years back a simple but profound question became popular. The question was “What would Jesus do?” This four-word question proved so popular it appeared in shortened form as “WWJD” on bracelets, tee shirts, ball caps, and bumper stickers.
WWJD is a good question to ask yourself when making decisions. It’s also a good reminder of how we should handle the dilemmas we all face in life. If you ever find yourself struggling to make a difficult decision, just ask yourself WWJD?
I used to ask this question when counseling Christians who were struggling with life’s exigencies, problems, and dilemmas. It was usually effective in helping them determine the course they should take.
Then, one day when I asked a client this question, he responded: “It doesn’t matter what Jesus would do — I’m not Jesus.” I was taken aback by his response. In fact, he had me stumped momentarily.
I didn’t know if the young man was making an excuse for failing to confront his problem or if he had a legitimate point. That’s when a response popped into my head out of the blue. I told him: “You’re right. You aren’t Jesus, and clearly Jesus can do many things you can’t do, so let me restate the question.
What would Jesus have you do? If Jesus were standing right here beside you now — and He is in the form of the Holy Spirit — what would He have you do in this situation?”
The two questions come down to the same thing when you think about it, but restating WWJD in this way did the trick for this young man. I think he knew all along what Jesus would have him do; his struggle was with following through and doing it.
But the reminder that Jesus was standing right there next to him in the form of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus had expectations of how he should proceed broke through the emotional inertia that had been holding him back.
We all face this kind of dilemma from time to time. It is one thing to determine the right path to take in a given situation; it’s quite another to actually take that path. If you ever find yourself in this situation, remember that Jesus is standing right next to you.
Then ask yourself, “What would Jesus have me do (WWJHMD)?”
Knowing He is right beside you and that He has expectations of how you should handle any and all situations might just give you the strength to follow through and actually do what Jesus would have you do.”
Let’s look at an example of a dilemma we all face from time to time: the temptation to tell a “little white lie” to keep from hurting the feelings of someone we care about. A friend asks you, “Do you like my new dress?” You know your friend just bought the dress and spent a bundle on it.
You also know she likes it and is hoping you will validate her purchase as well as her taste in dresses. Unfortunately, you think the dress looks terrible on her and wouldn’t be appropriate for the social event she plans to wear it to.
Telling her the truth is certain to hurt her feelings, but telling her you like the dress would be a lie. What should you do? On the one hand, you don’t want to hurt her feelings, but on the other you don’t want her to wear a dress that will make her look out of place at the social event in question. Nor do you want to lie.
Ask yourself, “What would Jesus have me do?” He would, of course, advise you to tell the truth. You should be tactful and gentle in doing so, but you should tell the truth. If you care enough about this friend to worry about hurting her feelings, you care enough to tell her the truth.
Asking WWJHMD is a good way to cut through the confusion that often surrounds the decisions we have to make. If you ask yourself this question and then consider that Jesus is right next to you as you ponder what to do, the confusion will evaporate. You will know what to do.
Jesus came to bring us abundant life, but what if we’re running on empty instead? Last Friday, I rolled out of bed exhausted after a hectic week and a few late nights. Desperately needing Jesus to renew my heart, I turned to my Bible, but ended up hurrying through a few verses before rushing off to another busy day at work. (Ever been there yourself?)
The following morning, I woke up relieved. Saturday had finally come! Now I had a chance to spend more time with Jesus and read Scripture.
But I couldn’t focus.
I had more time, but my mind was still too busy to rest. Thoughts of all I needed to do crowded out my feeble attempts to pray or discern God’s voice through the words I was reading.
Have you been there too? Maybe you’re tired, wrapped up in your thoughts and worries, or just emotionally exhausted by everything going on in your life.
Feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Need Jesus to Renew You?
If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope and have little focus left for your relationship with Jesus, take heart. The disciples must have felt that way too when they walked to Emmaus three days after Jesus’ death.
On the road they talked about how the man they’d followed 3 years had been arrested and crucified. (See the story in Luke 24:13-34)
Jesus Himself appeared to them, yet they did not recognize him. (Kind of like me when I sit down to read Scripture, yet I can’t recognize what the Lord is saying.)
Luke says, “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16), but I wonder if it was also because they were so engrossed in their own thoughts?
The Emmaus road story offers us 3 ways to renew our relationship with Jesus:
Clear Your Schedule.
The disciples had an encounter with Jesus during a 7-mile walk. We may not have time for 7 miles, but what about a walk around the block? What if we asked our Savior to accompany us? What if we made room for 20 minutes of breathing space to sit quietly?
Whether you have time to take an afternoon or twenty minutes, do what you can. Make space in your life for margin. We all need times to rest, reflect, and get renewed. Whether it’s physical or spiritual rest we need, let’s clear some time in our schedules to make room for Jesus.
Pray for Open Eyes to See Jesus.
Only after they arrived at Emmaus, when Jesus broke the bread for their evening meal, did the disciples recognize Him. Scripture says, “He took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened” (Luke 24:30b,31a).
Let’s ask Jesus to open our eyes so we can see His presence with us each day and discern His hand at work around us. What good thing happened to you recently? Did you view it as a gift from Jesus?
Ask Jesus to Open the Scriptures to You.
During the walk to Emmaus, Luke tells us Jesus explained to the disciples everything the Old Testament prophets had said about himself. They asked themselves later, “Did not our hearts burn within us…while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
If your mind starts flying in ten different directions when you open your Bible lately, ask Jesus to open your mind to discern His voice as you read His Word. Pray for a renewed love for the Scriptures and for fresh revelation of Jesus through your times reading the Bible.
Friend, if you’re feeling spiritually drained, call on Jesus.
He will renew us and wake us up to abundant life again when we call on Him. Let’s ask Jesus for open eyes to see Him today and open ears to hear Him through His Word. Then let’s make time to be with Him, even if it’s just 5 minutes. Jesus will leave his mark on our hearts.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. - Romans 12:12
Discontentment isn’t a feeling we freely usher in. No, discontentment, like many other negative feelings, seems to sneak in the back door of our hearts. What began as a day of simple frustrations turns into the theme for the week, which somehow snowballs into a seemingly long season of our life.
If I’m being honest, I think we may be the most discontented, disappointed people I’ve seen in my generation. We’ve allowed the back door feelings to take the stage of our lives and start fighting for the throne of our hearts.
This takes me straight to Eve, in the garden, when discontentment plagued the heart of man. Satan came to Eve, questioning “Did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
Here we have it, the inkling of discontentment shuffled in the back door of her heart, the same way it does for you and me. Something that has always struck me when reading the Bible, especially the New Testament, is how often we are reminded that tribulation and trials will occur.
It’s a promise that we will endure hard things, but we won't endure them alone.
Just like Eve’s moment of discontentment, I think of Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. He sought out Jesus, our Savior, in the middle of the night to answer the questions he was wrestling with.
What a picture that is for us. A man running to Jesus with his heart full of questions. Instead of turning to converse with the enemy, Nicodemus ran to the loving heart of our Savior.
We see two beautiful, encouraging things happen here. First, Jesus met Nicodemus right where he was, and He shared the Good News, which is what we find in John 3:16.
Second, we see that the Lord is always willing to come alongside us in our seasons of struggle, discontentment, and failure. The Lord wants to heal the discontentment in our lives because a heart left unattended in this sin will turn into spiritual heart failure: dry, weary, and distant.
As we grow in learning God’s Word, we begin to see His heart more clearly. We see that He is the cure for our discontented hearts. He stands ready to guard the back door of our hearts from this sin that so easily entangles us. Though this area may be one we battle more often than we would like, we now know how we can pray when it comes.
Pray to feel the Lord’s presence where we are, trust in the truth that God is guarding our hearts, and remember that trials will come but we never endure them alone when we are in Christ.
Pray with me...
As I walk through life’s disappointments, I pray for a hedge of protection around my heart. Discontentment sneaks in to steal and kill the joy you have in my life and I rebuke it. Help me live in the posture of readiness to stand firm against attacks and gird myself in your promised grace over my life.
Help me cultivate a habit of thanksgiving, help my eyes be quick to see your grace, help my tongue be quick to praise you.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Matthew 24:36-42 NIV
Jesus was clear that he would be returning for his followers, to take them to be with him forever (John 14:3). The apostles also talked about the Lord’s return and our resurrection to new life along with him. That is at the heart of our faith and is our great hope.
Over the centuries since Jesus left us, there have been countless attempts to figure out just when he is returning. As well as what has to happen before he returns. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in this speculation that we are guilty of ignoring the more important matters of living for Christ now. And representing him as salt and light in a dying world that’s living in darkness.
Live in Expectation of His Return
Jesus made clear to his disciples that the date of Jesus return was known only to the Father. And that it will be sudden. We do not have a list of things that have to happen first. The church in its first few years expected Jesus return any day. And now, nearly 2000 years later, we are still waiting. That in no way is intended to cast doubt on his return. I have no question but that, in his time, he will return for us and do some housekeeping to prepare our eternal home.
While we wait, we should live in expectation of his return at any moment. We do not know when that will be, but it will be good for us to be doing what he has given us to do when that occurs (Matt. 24:45-51). So, “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.“
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.Hebrews 4:12-13
The Word of God
Oftentimes we understand the ‘word of God’ to be synonymous with the Bible. But that is not the case here.
The New Testament was still being produced when Hebrews was written. And even the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, was not yet fully canonized.
The Bible most certainly falls into the overall ‘word of God’. But Jesus himself was also the Word of God (John 1:1-3, 14). James 1:21 also refers to the word planted in us that can save us.
This word is neither the physical Bible nor Jesus himself. Rather it is the message that God has given to us.
And I believe that is what the author is referring to here. Over and over in these first four chapters he has talked about God speaking in one way or another.
Hebrews starts off with “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).
Most recently the author says that “a long time later he spoke through David” (Heb. 4:7). The word of God is the message he has us.
Alive and Active
The word of God is alive and active. It is not simply words on a page. But it is living and at work in the lives of God’s people.
This is in line with what Peter says, calling it “the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23). As expressed above, the word of God is more than the Bible. But the Bible is the word of God in written form.
And when we read it the Holy Spirit can make it come alive and use it to change us.
The word of God is sharper that a double edged sword. It is able to penetrate deep within our hearts and minds. And it can perform the necessary surgery to remove the cancers that it finds within us. Is your conscience pricked when you read the Bible?
That is a good thing. It is an indication that the word of God is at work in your life. Submit to it and be made holy.
Nothing is Hidden from God’s Sight
Other people can only see what is on the outside, or what you choose to reveal to them. But not so the word of God.
It knows what is hidden so deep within you that even you may be unaware of it. Nothing is hidden from God’s sight and the working of his word.
I have no fear concerning my eternal destiny. But I do not look forward to having to give account to God for all that I have done. Especially for those things that I have hidden deep within me.
It seems best to allow God’s word to cleanse and direct me today so that when I stand before him I don’t have to hear him say ‘What about this . . . ‘.