Still pondering an experience I had recently in a book study being held by a group of well-meaning believers, trying to assess what might be required in order to live a more radical life for Christ. Their answers were so sincere but radically distant from the Christ they desired to follow, jaded by a Church culture addicted to success. The market is flooded with “self-help” books, as a growing number of people realize that there has to be more to this Christianity thing if it is to have the impact that so many have for centuries professed.
Even pastors are saying church as we know it is not working. That’s always been interesting to me because church, as we know it, is what so many religious leaders have told us it should be; and we bought it, literally. Now we have billions stored up in brick and mortar in a land that must now spend trillions defending itself against a world it has failed to touch.
What would Jesus do? Attend church (temples) more regularly, tithe more intensely, pray more fervently, read the scriptures more intentionally? I’m not knocking any of these strategies, for my own religious training has taught me to respond in this way. However, is that what Jesus, the God-man would be doing in these days, or were those things (all of which He in some way acknowledged) simply disciplines employed to enable Him as a man to do what He through those things realized the Father would have Him do?
I believe it was actually more private, behind the scene moments in Jesus’ life (spending the night away from others) that allowed Him to do the phenomenal miracles that he did. It was not that He alone as God could do these things, but that God through the man Jesus could demonstrate what the Holy Spirit would do through a man wholly (not only Holy) devoted to God? Some of those same miraculous things have happened through others since, (Bessie ten Boom’s vitamin story), some even in my own life in my better moments of devotion and service.
The question then, is not what would Jesus “do”, but what should I “be” in order to do these same things (“even greater than these”, He prophesied) that Jesus did in a world now desperate for spiritual moorings?
This day in which we live, will require a radical departure from religion, possibly even a revolution in our churches if the world is to move forward with the Savior; a day when atheism is in full bloom, and on the other end of the spectrum, ultra-radical religious movements are more often evident, even in our own ranks as well!
What did Jesus recommend, not more church but more love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…mind…strength; and your neighbor as yourself.” Out of that foundational truth will flow the works of the One once truly revered globally, though the latest rendering of those who profess to follow Him has lost much of that respect.
How did He love…He gave His life, not just at the cross, but every day, as He loved, shared and led. In so doing, He dared to do the works of the Father. Yes dared, for He was fully man…it took just as much faith for Him to tell Peter to go catch a fish and from the mouth of that fish render to Caesar what belonged to Caesar, as it does for you and I to believe. Yet, the things He did in secret with the Father, enabled this son of a carpenter to demonstrate the miraculous works of God. What would Jesus do if He were in my shoes…even greater works.