What Would Jesus Do?

Luke 6:39-40

In the 1990s many Christians joined the trend of wearing small wristbands bearing the letters W.W.J.D., which stood for the question “What Would Jesus Do?” Although the fad has passed, the question is still valid. It’s designed to prompt us to consider whether our words, actions, and attitudes are an accurate reflection of the life of our Savior. 

However, before we can accurately assess whether we are doing what Jesus would, we need to have a comprehensive understanding of what He said and did, as recorded in Scripture. It’s easy to take a few verses and come away with a simplistic view of the Lord. Most people are tempted to make Jesus into an image of what they want Him to be instead of trying to see the whole picture. Yes, He responded to people with love and compassion, but He also told them to stop sinning and warned them about the dangers of hell.

If we truly want to respond like Christ, it will take more than a reminder from a bracelet. We must yearn to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). This means we must learn who Christ is through daily Scripture reading and pray for Him to transform our heart. That will help purify our life from sin and align our thoughts and desires with His.

Then, as we not only show His compassion and concern for the lost but also warn them of the danger they face by rejecting Him, some may be drawn to our Savior. And since “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV), we know our actions are in line with what He would do.



Sharing The Good News

Romans 10:8-17

Can you imagine filling a ship with precious cargo and launching it into the sea, only to watch it repeatedly dock without offloading anything? I imagine silent Christians are much like this ship. God has personally blessed believers with salvation and eternal life and entrusted to them the message of the gospel, yet too few of His children are willing to share with others the good news of salvation in Christ.

What causes us to stay silent? We know that Jesus has commanded us to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, He has assured us that we will be empowered by His authority and presence with us. God is offering the invitation of salvation to “whoever will call on the name of the Lord.” He has even made it clear that our communicating the good news is the means by which people will come to saving faith (Rom. 10:13-14).

Sometimes Christians who don’t share their faith defend that choice by saying, “My faith is private. It’s between me and my God.” But that is not the model we see in Scripture. Genuine faith is confessed with the mouth and shared with the world.

Every believer has been entrusted with the good news of salvation through Christ. It is unquestionably the single most important piece of information we have, because it offers the only door to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We have to courageously step forward in faith, be willing to set aside worldly concerns, obey God, and tell someone about Jesus.



Dying To Serve

John 12:23-26

Imagine two grains of wheat lying on the floor of a warm and cozy barn. One day, the farmer comes in and tells them, “I want to take you out of this comfortable barn and plant you in the earth. I’m going to place you in the cold ground and cover you with soil. It will be dark, and you will die. But I promise that you will multiply and become very fruitful.”

The first grain of wheat turns down the suggestion. “No way!” he says. “Count me out. I like my comfort, and I don’t want to die.” But the second one, after carefully considering the pain and discomfort of dying, decides the promise of a future harvest is worth the sacrifice. So the farmer takes him outside and plants him in the ground, while allowing the first grain of wheat to remain inside the barn.

A few days later, a small green sprout begins to appear over where the seed has been planted. Then it grows and becomes a tall stalk of wheat that produces one hundred more grains. For the next 40 years, the farmer plants all the seeds that originated from that first grain of wheat, and year after year the harvest multiplies. Meanwhile, the grain of wheat that stayed in the barn remains there all alone, never growing or multiplying—but he has stayed very comfortable.

Which grain of wheat are you? Are you playing it safe, or have you let Christ plant you in the world? The only way you’ll become useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom is by abiding in Him and trusting that His desires for your life are worthwhile.



Servanthood Requirements

Luke 19:1-9

In sending his son to earth, God didn’t intend for Him to be a superstar. Jesus came to serve. As His disciples, we are to follow His example and serve a lost and hurting world. In today’s passage, we read about Zaccheus, who began to demonstrate qualities he saw Jesus model.

Awareness: Although surrounded by a crowd, the Lord stopped and took notice of one particular man perched in a tree. Zaccheus was hated and rejected because he was a tax collector. Although he was rich, there was something missing in his life, and Christ recognized his need. In our life, there are many people like Zaccheus—needy, empty, lonely, and searching for hope. But too often, we’re preoccupied with our activities and don’t even notice them.

Availability: Jesus was heading to Jerusalem to carry out the most important act in human history: our redemption. Yet He stopped to spend time with a spiritually needy man. What is so important that it keeps you from giving people your time and attention?

Acceptance: Although Zaccheus was a notorious sinner, Jesus didn’t say, “Clean up your act, and then I’ll come to your house.” We’re called, not to fix people, but to share the transforming gospel of Christ.

How are you doing at serving those around you? Maybe it’s time to slow down enough to see who might be in need. God places all kinds of opportunities in our path, but if we’re not attentive, we’ll miss them. Sometimes we just need to pause, pray, and open our eyes.



Danger of False Teaching

Romans 16:17-18

Throughout the ages the church has been bombarded with false teaching, and it’s still prevalent today. Since the only way to combat error is with truth, the church must be grounded in the Scriptures to avoid falling victim to deception.

The church needs an accurate view of Jesus. To hold firmly to the truth of the gospel, we must have a solid understanding of who Christ is. Though some claim Jesus was a teacher or a prophet, Scripture says He was fully God, who created everything and came to earth to save mankind from condemnation (John 1:1-13).  Others argue that there are many ways to God. However, reconciliation with Him requires that sin’s penalty be paid in full by one who is sinless. Only Jesus, the perfect Son of Man, could meet God’s requirement. Therefore, no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

The church must also affirm true doctrine. False teachers can be very persuasive and lead listeners into wrong thinking, confusion, and discouragement. In contrast, true doctrine strengthens and encourages believers by assuring them that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone; it is not gained or maintained by their performance (Eph. 2:8-9). Those who belong to Jesus need never fear condemnation because the penalty for their sins has been paid (Rom. 8:1). Everyone who is born again has an imperishable inheritance, which is reserved in heaven and protected by divine power through faith until God reveals it (1 Peter 1:3-5). 

Can you discern false teaching? The only way to guard yourself and your church is to be firmly grounded in God’s Word.



Place Your Hope In Him

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”

Psalm 39:7

When we load all our hopes, dreams, and expectations into the here and now, without taking eternity into account, we subtly ask people in our lives to be what they will never be and to do what they are incapable of doing. We make the mistake of seeing our relationships as ends in themselves rather than as means to ends. This is especially true of marriage. Don’t think of marriage as a container for your happiness; think of it as a workroom for God to get you ready for the age to come.  Don’t think of marriage as the missing puzzle piece in your life that will magically complete you. Only God can complete you! Don’t expect your spouse to make you happy, meet all your needs, or understand you through and through. Those are things only God is equipped to do. Place your hopes and expectations in Him. He will never disappoint you.

Father in heaven, You know my heart. You know my tendency to place such high expectations on the people in my life. If only I would turn to You first! Help me to release those unrealistic hopes and fantasies and simply to love and enjoy the companionship of the loved ones You have given me.



Healing Within

Ephesians 3:14-21

The world bombards us with messages that can trigger feelings of inferiority. Happiness and satisfaction are promised if we will only drive the latest car, wear the newest styles, or build up those muscles while shedding pounds. If we do not guard ourselves from commercialism, it will drive the truth of God from our mind, and we will pursue a fruitless search for adequacy and value.

So often we look at externals to prove to ourselves and others that we’re valuable. Or we think, If only I were better-looking, richer, or smarter, I would be accepted and esteemed. It’s not wise to let others’ opinions and standards determine our feelings about ourselves; the only accurate assessment of our worth comes from looking into the eyes of the One who loved us enough to die in our place.

Paul told his readers that true significance comes from knowing and understanding the full dimensions of God’s love for them. This knowledge is our anchor when feelings of worthlessness overwhelm or failures tempt us to berate ourselves and withdraw in defeat. Notice that the Lord doesn’t say He’ll give us all the qualities and possessions we think will overcome our sense of inferiority. Instead, He promises to strengthen us “in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16).

God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” but His method is to work from the inside out, “according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20). If you struggle with feelings of inferiority, ask God to heal your soul by doing a great work within.



Something Mighty

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

Reading the Bible, you can easily get caught up in what God accomplished long ago. You think of the Red Sea parting and the Israelites crossing it on dry ground. You think of King Solomon with his vast wisdom. You think of the apostle John, sitting close enough to Jesus to see Him breathe, to look right into His eyes. Yes…but…what about the mighty things He’s doing in your life today? You may not see an ocean part, but think of the way He has made for you through impossible circumstances. You may not have the wisdom of Solomon, but think of the times when He gave you a cutting-edge insight at just the right moment. You may not see Jesus with your physical eyes, but you have God’s own Spirit making His home within you. Today’s Scripture reminds us that He’s doing something new in your life, something mighty. Open your eyes to see it.

Lord, forgive me for thinking Your mighty works are in the past or imagining Your best plans for my life have already come and gone. Open my eyes to what You are doing in and around me this very day. Help me not to miss the stunning miracles taking place at work, at home, in my neighborhood, and in my city.



God’s Love Comforts Us

Romans 8:38-39

Our heavenly Father wants us to know how much He loves and cares for us. He has made this clear through …

Revelation of Himself. In Scripture, we learn that the Creator made us in His image and has a purpose for our life. We also discover that sin has separated us from the Lord, but He has a solution to our problem.

Provision of a Savior. We were trapped by our sinful nature and unable to free ourselves. That left us helpless and lost, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36). Worse still, we were under a sentence of eternal death—separation from the Lord forever. Because of our Father’s great love for mankind, He sent His only Son to bear the penalty we deserved and to give us eternal life (Rom. 6:23). Jesus rescued us from slavery to sin and reconciled us to the Father. What we could never do for ourselves, He did for us. His provision is free to us but costly to Him.

Adoption of believers. When we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we become children of God. There’s no longer a separation between Him and us; instead of enemies, we are family. His indwelling Holy Spirit serves as both evidence that we belong to God and assurance of His unending love.

The heavenly Father’s care for us shines brightly through the cross at Calvary—it was because of love that He sent Jesus Christ to earth to die in our place (1 John 4:9-10). Once we accept the gift of salvation through Christ, nothing can separate us from God’s love. What a comfort that is in times of need.



Goal Setting

Philippians 3:7-14

What three goals would you set for your life if you knew that you could achieve them? Would any of them be spiritual in nature? The apostle Paul was a goal-oriented person (even before he became a Christian), and he understood which pursuits were the most important. His chief ambition was to know Christ and His resurrection power, along with the fellowship of His suffering (Phil. 3:10).

We’d all do well to adopt these goals, but they sound so broad. How do we put them into practice? First, it’s important to comprehend that a goal is a purpose or direction toward which we work. This concept is fairly easy to understand when we’re talking about specific objectives like going to bed earlier or washing dishes every day, but what steps would you need to take in order to achieve spiritual goals like Paul’s?

Success requires choosing steps that are specific, reasonable, and measurable. For example, if you want to know Christ more intimately, you might start by spending 15 minutes each day praying and reading His Word. After developing your plan and the steps to accomplish it, put your desire into action. If you don’t take the necessary steps, it will simply remain a wish. No one develops intimacy with Christ through good intentions; it takes commitment, diligence, and perseverance.

If you feel as if your faith is lacking vitality, it may be that you’ve lost sight of your goal. No one intends to slip into complacency. But unless you set some specific goals and work to achieve them, you’ll drift through life and miss the reward—knowing Christ intimately.