I have been reading In His Steps by Charles Sheldon and then watched the WWJD film yesterday and both really got me thinking.
Following Jesus is supposed to be this key part of being a Christian so obviously I am not a very good Christian. I am too selfish and have too many material things. I always figured that Jesus was perfect and, while He was an example, we would always fall way short. That it was something that normal people couldn't do. But the book made me think more about it - those examples were normal people. Maybe I am too scared of suffering - perhaps my faith is shallow.
Then he said to the crowd, If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9 : 23
Maybe it is the time of year that is making me get all deep. I try to be a good person and I give to charity but I give money not time. There isn't really any sacrifice in it. I am not face to face with the people in need. I just donate a little and then carry on with my life.
What confuses me is how you know what Jesus would do in certain situations. I mean some would be pretty simple - obvious choices - but others would be more complicated.
I wonder how a movement like that in In His Steps would go down in churches today!
Does it really matter as long as you are happy and not causing undue suffering to anyone?
Giving to charity is a good thing (and doesn't have to be a religious conviction). We don't all have time to commit to charity and we don't all have to live in rags in mud houses.
Live your life according to how you feel you should. Follow your own heart. Believe in yourself.
I get where you are coming from Indigo, but sometimes what your heart truly wants is not what is best for you, or may be good for you but not for those you love. If it was so black and white life would be easy.
I now how you feel, plaingirly.
We all fall short of the glory of God.
When you look at one verse of scripture, you can lose perspective. When you become a Christian here on Earth, you always one foot in the spiritual world and one foot in the flesh. There is tension. Read Romans, especially around chapter 8.
You can try to be obedient to the Word all under your own steam. Or you can let the Holy Spirit help you. No one promised that the Christian life is an easy one, just that it is not a lonely one. You can lean on other Christians and, always, the Paraclete. Life in the spirit will mean that your earthly ways will simply fall from importance. You won't miss them.
In your reading, I recommend something on Discipleship (eg Michael Watson's book).
Wow plainygirl book sounds lovely, I might try and read it. Another great thing to watch are the 'Transformation' videos/dvds, about places transformed by people following God. In all the examples in Transformations they seem to start with prayer. I would suggest, humble, that prayng - talking to God - just being comfortable with Jesus, was a good place to start.
I could not find the link to the Transformations dvds but will see if I can.
Whatever happens do not put too much pressure on yourself, just relax and try and listen to God's calling in amidst life.
I mean - I would suggest, humbly that praying - talking to God-
Hello plaingirly. I don't think that we can ever know for sure WJWD, but I think that just asking the question is a first step. In haste, but I wanted to share the following, which I think is very helpful:
"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thomas Merton)
But it can be that easy. It's a matter of shifting perceptions. I'm not being rude here, far from it: do what you want to do, whatever makes you happy. Instead of wwjd, what would love do? We live in such times where every way we turn there is something that indicates we should do this, we must buy that. If you knew that you came to earth with your own body-don't you think it comes equipped with exactly what you need on your path? Hearts are extremely powerful-it's when we stop acknowledging them that the pain, sadness, doubt and all set in.
Best of luck xxx and lots of love x
And, before there is any misconstruing - I know Jesus is real and his spirit is still with us.
So what when what your heart wants is actively bad for you (think loving someone who is ultimately destructive) or when you have to chose between things you love? I'm actually quite close in my thinking to where you are coming from, but i do think it is over-simplistic - sometimes the right thing to do can hurt. I had a situation very recently where the right thing to do was absolutely not what the heart said - it felt very far from right yet it was still right. Sometimes doing what you want and following your heart can hurt those you love, and the really loving thing to do is not to follow your heart but allow them to follow theirs.
Ok, I hear you. What you have said re allowing others to follow their own hearts too is wholly admirable and respectable - and quite possibly we should all be following our own hearts.
If you are loving someone who is destructive, only you can discern if this path is what is right for you. If you love them, would you see past that destruction? would you judge them for it? Would you quietly leave the situation seeing that you have no power over others, just as they hold no power over you (no one does - it's only if you let them) and allow yourself to see the bigger picture and allow it to unfold?
Choosing between things you love - love yourself first. Always love yourself first, and this doesn't always manifest in the way we think. Ultimately you have to be happy with your own choices, all I mean is to follow what makes you happy knowing that you only ever have your best interests at heart. Please don't allow anyone else to tell you that what you truly feel in your heart (the bit that makes you happy) is wrong. Not listening to your true inner compass/radar is why people crush themselves for the sake of listening to another. Please.
With love xxx
My heart is used pretty much exclusively for pumping blood around my body.... what I feel in it is a regular thumping.....
Pedro, are you directing your post at me?
Nope, just adding my 2 cents. I always find it weird when people talk about the feelings in their heart when it's the brain which is responsible!
Plainfgirly, "for every look within look ten times at Him".
Your post seems a bit self flagellating which is why I recommend knowing Jesus character better through reading the Bible and praying. Rather than thinking about yourself and how you have fallen short. We all fall short. That's just how it is this side of eternity. The more you think about Him the less angst ridden you will be, I think.
I find it very easy to give money to charity, but giving time is difficult. I've wanted to be better there, too.
One of my favorite stories is about the women caught in adultery. Instead of condemning her as everyone else did, he silenced her accusers, then without accusation, invited her to "sin no more". I've never been guilty of adultery, but lately I think about this story when I've made other mistakes because it reminds me of the goodness and mercy of Jesus.
I don't think we can be like Jesus in every way because we lack the insight he had. However, I think it's possible for us to be kind, generous, and slow to judge (but also quick to protect those who need it).
When I think of what Jesus would do it seems similar to what love would do - Jesus = love.
I am not sure how it would work in practice as, like Nightlurker said, we don't have the insight that Jesus had. So what I think is the right thing to do in a situation might not be right in the long run.
WWJD sounds so simple but it really isn't!
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