Read: James 4:7 |
Image with me this plot sketch: A homeless man enters the First Church of Raymond mid-service one Sunday morning, and politely asks why Christians always talk and sing about sacrifice and carrying crosses and bearing others’ burdens and following in the footsteps of Jesus but so rarely do these things in practice.
The book, “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” published in 1897, by minister Charles Monroe Sheldon used this plot in his opening chapter to grab the reader’s attention [Source: “WWJD, Part 1: Origin of the Phrase”, Emily Jones].
Mr. Sheldon originated the phrase, “What Would Jesus Do? The core thought behind WWJD is daily true submission to God the Father and following His Holy Words. Sheldon’s charge to his Topeka, Kansas congregation and us is: ”Are we willing to submit to WWJD?”
God has all the power of heaven and earth, but He never forces us to submit to Him and do what Jesus would do. He only has as much of our hearts as we give Him by submitting. James makes this point in the first part of Chapter 4 by saying:
- Unholy Desire + Covetousness leads to Wrong Motives, Which Yield Unanswered Prayer
- Closeness to God comes by Submitting to Him and Resisting Satan
- Slander begins in our Hearts and Minds
Unholy Desires + Covetousness Leads to Wrong Motives, Which Yield Unanswered Prayer
The same causes of quarrels and fights still exist among us today as it did then – unholy desires + covetousness. By seeding these causes in our hearts and minds, Satan’s imps work feverishly to fertilize and grow weeds of dissension and wrong motives.
Wrong motives hinder our prayers. Weed out the undesirable growth before it takes root in order to keep our hearts and minds on Christ.
Closeness to God comes by Submitting to Him and Resisting Satan
Should not the creature be submissive to the Creator? Submission to God feels unnatural because we are born in sin. Our natural nature submits to Satan. However, by yielding our free will to accept Christ we gain salvation. To grow, the initial submission should evolve into a continual submission of our free will to our Lord and Savior.
The call is simple: submit, resist, come near, wash, purify, grieve, mourn, change and humble ourselves and He will lift us up. Each one leads to a closer relationship with God, and to a life that is bearing fruit, building character and becoming more mature. [Source: How to Repent]
Slander begins in our Hearts and Minds
James 4:11-15 points out that, we judge others by speaking against them. We ascend to the seat of judgment when we seek to judge others and slander them. By ascending, we lose sight of our position in Christ. There is only one supreme God (Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.). We do not possess the omniscient knowledge, immeasurable grace and matchless mercy necessary to judge, thus be careful with words that slander and harm others. Instead, pray for a spirit of discernment and allow God his rightful place as Supreme Judge.
As 3D Believers, transfer the words WWJD from a mere motto to an eternal stamp on our hearts and minds. If we dare to actually mean what we say, then a biblical movement to fulfill God’s calling and the Great Commission would sweep over the earth.
What would Jesus do, He would submit to God.
What would Jesus do, He would resist Satan.
What would Jesus do, He would come nearer to God.
Now the question is WWYD? In other words – What Will You Do – with this information?
A. Is there any area of your life where you are resisting God’s Lordship rather than resisting the devil? With a prayer partner, discover some ways to reverse the trend. Possibly, memorize scriptures that speak to the challenge; turn off the television or computer; refuse to listen to gossip or criticism.
B. Can we serve both our desires and God’s will? Why do so many Christians try to do both with all of their might? What will this double mindedness cause?
A. Read one of these passages: Matt. 22:36-40; Rom. 13:8-10; James 2:8. How does the slanderer break God’s “royal law?”
B. How do you decide which direction to take in life for important decisions? Do you yield to God’s will with your decision-making? Why or why not?
A. Share about a time when you submitted yourself to God in an area that you had previously kept reserved for “your will”. How did you come about the decision to submit to Him? What has happened since then?
B. What would be the right way to help someone with faults? Without judging, how can you balance judging and discerning and in love offer gentle, humble feedback and help someone in need?
C. Share the origin of WWJD with someone and then ask them WWYD – What Will You Do with the information.