What Would Jesus Do

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast: Episode 56

TRANSCRIPT

Some of you might remember the WWJD bracelets from years ago. The letters stood for What Would Jesus Do. In today’s podcast I want to look at how Jesus lived His life so we can do what Jesus did.

I’m Lee Whitman with Restoring the Foundations. Today’s verse is John 5:19, “So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”

I read a very popular book years ago, the title of which I will not mention in case you really like the book. The book taught that as believers we are to look at the scriptures to see how Jesus did things and to imitate Him. The idea was that Jesus being the perfect son of God would do things the right way. And since we are not perfect nor ever will be perfect, the best we could do this side of heaven is to try and figure out how Jesus would have handled a situation and do what He did. In other words, ask the question What Would Jesus Do. 

It is a great idea to ask What Would Jesus Do in any situation, but the way it was lived out was to find a bible verse that addressed a situation and do what that verse said. Some of you are already wondering if I am going to tell you not to live by the scriptures, right? The answer is that I am not going to nor ever will tell you not to live by God’s Word. God’s Word is more important today than maybe at any other time in history. I am going to go down a bunny trail for just a minute and then we will come back to our topic. 

Why is God’s Word more important now than ever before? Because our world has lost its absolutes. We no longer look to the bible as the source of absolute truth. In fact, many of our churches are teaching a version of American Christianity (read comfortable Christianity) that has watered down the teachings of the bible. I sat with a 20 something young man the other day who said something to the effect that he did not believe that God was totally against sin. In fact, this guy believed that God allowed us to sin in order to use that sin to conform us into the image of Christ. Although it is true that God uses all things to conform us into the image of Christ, I can’t go along with the notion that God is not against sin. All you have to do is read some of the stories in the Old Testament to see how serious God is about sin. When God led the Israelites to overtake and defeat their enemies, He specifically told them to kill every last person from that tribe. Why would a loving God have entire tribes wiped out? Because of the sinful patterns and habits of that tribe. God was so serious about keeping the sinful behaviors of other tribes and nations away from the Jewish people that He had them eliminate all of those in that tribe so the Jewish people would not be tainted with those behaviors. 

This comfortable Christianity along with this current political climate have diluted the Word of God so that it does not offend this generation. And in the process this generation has lost the absolutes found in God’s Word and people are believing things that are simply not biblical. Many people are questioning who they are today because they have lost the foundation of the absolute truth found in the Bible. 

Now let’s get back to our topic. The question we are looking at is What Would Jesus Do. Let’s look at what Jesus actually did to find the answer to that question. In John 5 Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda which was known by the people of that day to have healing power. According to the legend, the first person to get into the water when the water was stirred would be healed. We can’t tell by the story in John 5 how many people were at the pool that day, but according to verse 3 it says there was a multitude who needed healing and were waiting for the water to stir. Jesus came to this pool where there was a multitude of sick people and He healed one man. Why did He heal just one person, and why this man in particular. The answer is found in today’s verse, John 5:19. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” Jesus went on to say in John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” So, Jesus healed that one particular man because His Father only told Him to heal that one man.

Even in Jesus teaching He did not speak from His own knowledge. Jesus would have been brought up as an orthodox Jew who would have known the scripture intimately. Yet we see in John 12 that at one point Jesus was teaching the disciples about God’s Kingdom with the understanding that He would be going to the cross very soon. John 12:48 says “For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” So, Jesus who was full of religious knowledge did not teach anything that was not given to Him by His Father.

In these two scriptures we see the answer to What Would Jesus Do. He would ask His Father what to do in a situation. He would ask His Father what to say in a situation. And He would only do and say what Father God told Him. So, if we are to use WWJD as our example, then it is obvious. We are to do just what Jesus did and ask our Father God what to do and what to say. 

It sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? What then gets in the way of us doing what Jesus did and simply ask Father God what we are to do and what we are to say? I believe the answer is found in Galatians 5:16-18. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want.” The Easy-to-Read translation states Galatians 5 this way, “So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. 17 The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do.” According to this verse, there is a battle going on in every believer between the flesh and the Spirit.

What is this “flesh” or as the ESV calls it the “sinful self”. This verse sort of makes it sound like there are two of us, that we are spiritually schizophrenic. That is not the case. We need to understand what the “the flesh” or “the sinful self” really is. Let me give you a working definition of the flesh and then explain where it came from.

The Flesh (also known as the self-life or the sinful self) is the condition (the mindset, attitude, the strategy for living) where my focus is primarily on myself where I am living out of my own resources (such as my heritage, education, IQ, personality, sense of humor, looks, talents, abilities, etc.) in order to cope and deal with life, solve my problems, meet my needs, and become a success. We each have developed our own version of the flesh to make our way in life. This flesh as the definition says is made up of mindsets, attitudes, and a strategy for living in an attempt to get our needs met.

This battle started back in the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they went from being in an intimate relationship with God where they were totally dependent on Him for everything, to being independent from God, in fact cut off from Him having to depend on themselves for everything. From that moment on mankind was forced to get their needs met out of their own resources. You develop your own patterns of the flesh in order to as the definition says, to cope and deal with life, solve my problems, meet my needs, and become a success.

So how do we determine if something is done out of the flesh or out of the spirit? Let me give you a simple example and you decide if it was living out of the flesh or living out of the spirit. The facts in this example may be true, but the names have been changed to protect me! Say my wife Cindi asks me to clean up the evening dinner dishes. You need to understand in way of background that I hate cleaning up the kitchen. In fact, in my home growing up, no self-respecting man would ever do dishes. Growing up we had men’s jobs which included everything that needed doing outside the house, and there were women’s jobs which included almost everything inside the house. But let’s say on this day I go ahead and clean up the dinner dishes anyways. I mean I don’t just get the job done; I do a great job. The kitchen is spotless. Question: Was I operating out of the flesh or the Spirit by doing the cleanup? The answer is that it could have been either one. The only way to judge whether it was flesh or Spirit is to know my motivation. Yet only looking at the behavior you wouldn’t know my motivation. 

The bible tells us that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Most people look at the results to judge behavior. She asked him to clean up the kitchen, he cleaned it, then it must be OK. God is not as concerned with the outcome as He is with the process. He is a God of the heart, of changing what really motivates a person. God knows that if He can get our heart and our motivation right, then behavior will take care of itself. You can force someone into right behavior and have their heart be rebellious. It is like the little boy who was told by his mother to sit down when he didn’t want to and he responded, “I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!” 

Man’s way: Change behavior = success.

God’s way is to change the heart which leads to proper motivation which leads to proper behavior which leads to success no matter what the outcome. 

Notice that the flesh is made up of mind-sets, attitudes, and strategies for living. Those are all ungodly beliefs. RTF has a powerful and effective ministry to change ungodly beliefs into Godly beliefs. We don’t have to fight the constant battle between the flesh and the Spirit described in Galatians. When we get our minds renewed to the truth, the battle eases. The battle doesn’t go completely away until we enter into our heavenly home, but by removing those mind-sets, attitudes, and strategies for living of our flesh, it becomes much easier to walk in the Spirit and not give into the desires of the flesh. And once you know how to take your ungodly beliefs to God and receive His truth, the battle with these thoughts actually leads you to experience more victory. In fact, the more these fleshly ungodly beliefs are changed to God’s truth the “desires of your flesh” actually change and you experience desires of the Spirit.  

Next week’s podcast we are going to continue looking at this battle between the flesh and the Spirit.

Prayer

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.