Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Get the lead out

THERE’S A LOT of talk in Christian circles about “feeling led” to do this, that, or the other. I’m not knocking it entirely; I believe God speaks to us specifically—and directly—at times, telling us to do certain things.

But in the absence of one of those blinding-light moments of clarity, there is an awful lot we can be getting on with in the meantime, much of which we actually might not feel like doing at all.

Let’s start with fasting. Not a favorite practice for many, but when Jesus spoke about it, He said, “When you fast…” (Matt. 6:17). Not if. He assumed it was just something His disciples did. I’m not going to say what that looks like for you, but it certainly involves some form of self-denial, which rarely falls in the “feeling like it” category.

And what about forgiveness. Jesus once more: “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25). Again, no waiting for warm fuzzies here; just get on with it. Maybe the caveat that our own forgiveness hangs on us extending it to others might be the motivation we need.

Then there’s alms. That guy on the street corner is only going to use the money to buy booze, right? “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you,” says Jesus (Matt. 5:42).

His disciples seem to have absorbed Jesus’s just-do-it philosophy, which I call “The Nikene Creed.” They offered similar, no-frills direction.

Take 1 Peter 2:17 as just one example: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” No suggestion there that we need to feel good about the government’s practices and policies.

Years ago, I heard a pastor talking about the whole “feeling led” thing. The only lead many Christians seemed to have, he observed, was that which was in their boots, causing them to drag their feet.

Maybe it’s time to get the “led” out.

Photo by kevinspencer on Foter.com/CC BY-NC

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