Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Should I?

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  James 3:17
This week, in honor of graduates everywhere, we are considering living intelligently.  This is a special kind of wisdom that does not require a diploma, nor will you necessarily earn a diploma or rewards for living intelligently but you certainly may save yourself some painful experiences! 
There are some definite characteristics of wise people. 
First of all, a wise person can discern the difference between right and wrong.  He or she makes the right decisions.
As an undergraduate at a small denominationally supported college, a young pastor had the good fortune to know a man named Owen Weatherly. Dr. Weatherly, formerly pastored some large urban congregations and had moved south to become Chair of the department of Religion and Philosophy at the school. He was a man who took a personal interest in his students, always (if asked) providing counsel that was timely, usually spiced with humor and particularly spiritual. Prior to the student’s departure for seminary he offered the following advice: "Son," he began, "remember three things when you go off to that big university. First, it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl." (The same is true with a girl finding a rich boy.)  "Second, when you are confronted with ideas contrary to your own, listen to them. At worst, you will find them entertaining. At best, they will help you grow. Third, I have found that whenever I am faced with a major decision -- whether personal or professional -- it helps immensely to go off alone and ask the question, 'What would Jesus do?' If I can answer that," he concluded, "then I know what I should do, as well."
Throughout the years, that third piece of advice has proven inestimably valuable. Daily we are confronted with dilemmas to resolve. Daily for us, in Frost's words, "two roads converge in a yellow wood" and we stand wondering which avenue to follow.
·      "Should I accept this job or look for another?"
·      "Should I pursue this romance or end it?"
·      "Should I practice tough love or be gentle and nurturing with my child in this situation?"
·      "Should I take this risk? What would it cost? Who could it hurt?"
·      "Should I retaliate?" "Should I give this person yet another chance?"
·      "Do I follow head or heart?"
The list is endless. Frequently we find ourselves faced with difficult choices, often not choices between good and bad but rather between bad and worse. Resolutions are never easy to come by. Unfailingly, however, if we can discern what Jesus would do in a similar situation, we know what we should do, as well. What Would Jesus Do? What He would do is not, of course, always the easiest of options. Often Jesus maintained a difficult and unpopular course. But of this much we can remain certain - He always did the right thing. Consulting and following His will, we can too.
"So, how do I know what Jesus would do?" The answers are available in three words: scripture, prayer and consultation.
1.    When ethical decisions must be faced, read the Sermon on the Mount.
2.    When relational difficulties demand action, read of his dealings with publicans and prostitutes, the lame and the lost. Read the 15th chapter of Luke and its stories of reclamation and grace.
3.    Spend time in prayer, remembering that "prayer is essentially listening to God."
4.     Seek the counsel of a trusted Christian minister or friend. In those ways we can usually determine what Jesus would have done had he walked in our shoes.
Scripture to Claim:
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3

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