The power we give to “What If” questions is huge. Sometimes they even hold the power to change our entire life’s course. For those who follow Jesus, we know we are to give him the power to change our entire life’s course. Sure this is right and good, but it’s certainly a bit scary at times too.
Because of this, we can often ask questions to the extent of the popular 1990’s catchphrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” We stress out, or possibly even search the scriptures, trying to attain direction for all sorts of decisions, big and small that we may face. Decisions like, “How should I respond to this?”, “What should I study?”, “Where should I work?”, “How would Jesus dress?”, “What car would Jesus drive?”, and the list goes on and on. We want specific answers! Sound familiar?
To cope with our scary “What If?” scenarios, we’ve redirected our tensions with “What Would” questions. Some people even teach that we should. Is this good advice though?
The Danger Of This Question
While some people have used this statement/question to justify some really ridiculous and damaging offenses, it’s not the typical reason it’s considered. Typically, it’s great that you’re giving Jesus rightful supremacy, and there’s certainly nothing condemnable about such questions. Yet there could be a paralyzing danger to this as well.
Too often the only result of these questions is repeatedly, nothing. Some people translate this as “Oh, just pray harder or longer.” (scripture) Some people translate this as “No Answer = No Go.” Some even go as far as “No foreseeable answer = Sin to do it! or Completely free for whatever I want!” – depending on their desired preference.
This can obviously lead to all sorts of craziness, but also sadly leaves many in a state of analysis paralysis. Meaning, you do nothing while waiting on nothing!
I’ve sadly seen many great job opportunities passed up, many potentially awesome godly marriages never happen, and even self-punishment or self-denial of perfectly amoral material goods… All in the name of “Godly uncertainty”, super spiritual faith and dependence on God.”
The Real Question To Be Asking. What If…
What if it actually takes greater faith to trust God in movement than sitting still (Prov 16:9), and to seek him so often and know him so well that we don’t make stupid choices? (Prov 20:24-25)
What if God’s already given us the fullness of his directions and doesn’t care about specifics as long as what you’re doing is honoring him with your full self? (1 Cor 10:31; Luke 10:27)
(I hear it: “*gasp* He doesn’t care!? How dare you say that!”)
What if God’s actually offended by us asking for specifics when we haven’t even minded or fulfilled what he’s already asked and commanded? (Matt 18:29-20; Luke 10:27)
What if God’s already given us everything that pertains to life and godliness? (2nd Peter 1:3)
What if God is more pleased with our doing than our contemplating because what if the answer has already been given and our doing is simply response to what’s been done!? (Matt 12:38-39)
What if we’ve been told to ask for wisdom, and seek it more than gold, and it is Godly and pleasing to extrapolate Godly wisdom from the biblical guidance, spiritual giftedness and discernment of the body of believers, and practical understanding you already have? (Prov 16:16; Prov 25:2; James 1:5)
So what if the real question to be asking, instead of “What Would Jesus Do?”, is actually, simply, “What Has Jesus Done?”
I suppose I propose that the work is done. The answers are given. We are to glorify God in all we do and there’s no shortage of ways to do that. We don’t need more options or specifics; with literally millions of options just waiting for you to seize one and get something done, why are you waiting?
Too often I fear this is all a seemingly holy, justified way of excusing our timidity and fear of failure and manning up, and it is too easily excused as super-spiritual, faith filled, exemplary living.
Again, I don’t mean this to be offensive or to make you feel dumb. No, my greater concern for you is to tell you that if you are in Christ, then GOD IS ALREADY PLEASED WITH YOU. You can’t do something that will make God say, “Now you’ve screwed it all up! I ain’t helping you anymore!” Be encouraged and empowered, and honor him with your faith, obedience, and service using your God-given abilities and mind. YOU CAN!
Oh, and if you’re a leader, stop stalling people and start empowering and challenging them. One is much harder than the other. One takes more work, faith, and practice on your part. That’s all I’m saying on that.