Questions #1: What does God think?
When Peter attempted to move Jesus away from the suffering of the cross (Matt. 16:21-28) notice Jesus’ admonition.
But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get out of my way, Satan! You are tempting me to sin. You aren’t thinking the way God thinks but the way humans think” (Matthew 16:23 GOD’S WORD Translation).
Peter and Jesus have this conversation in the context of the cross, and Jesus’ impending crucifixion. Jesus teaches us a vital lesson: Clearly to avoid sin you must learn to think like God thinks about a matter. How does God perceive suffering? What does God think about trials? How would God define obedience?
Question # 2: How will the Spirit help?
Jesus promised the disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit as a helper. Notice his words,
However, I am telling you the truth: It’s good for you that I’m going away. If I don’t go away, the helper won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you (John 16:7 GOD’S WORD Translation).
The word for helper (parakletos) combines two Greek words. Para which means to be alongside (as in parallel), and kletos which means to call. Hence, we get “one who is called alongside to help.” Understanding the Holy Spirit’s role in the helping process is essential to change. How can I be filled with the Spirit? Upon which element of the fruit of the spirit should I focus? How can I grow increasingly sensitive to his leading? He was sent as a helper, and I need help to change. What does this look like and how is it lived out.
Question # 3: How did Jesus live?
Jesus is the ultimate case study for living the godly life. We rarely ask this question, because we assume he lived his earthly life in the power of his deity. But the Scripture makes it clear that, being fully human, he lived this life in the obedience of his humanity.
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications . . . to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:7–8).
When Jesus walked this earth as a human being he prayed and God answered. He learned to obey, and God blessed him.
John who defended both the deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4), and the humanity of Jesus (1 John 4:2) gave us this simple reminder:
. . . Whoever says he abides in him [Jesus] out to walk in the same way that he walked (1 John 2:6).
This final question gives me my practical example. How did Jesus respond to conflict? How did he handle suffering? Rejection? Betrayal? What was his response to the praise of men? If I can find an example from the life of Christ for how to respond in a given situation I am one step closer to responding in the right way.
Three questions to daily ask ourselves: (1) What does God think? (2) How will the Spirit help? (3) What did Jesus do?