Yesterday a reader named Lisa asked me to respond to what she shared in the comment section of a blog post I wrote about the consequences of ignoring God. If you’re interested you can read that blog post here: The Consequences of Ignoring God: God’s Way, Your Way, and Your Crushed Spirit.
So here’s what she shared:
I stumbled across this “article” when I searched “what happens when you disobey what God told you to do”, or something like that! I’ve been a follower of Jesus pretty much my whole life, I’m faced now with not being able to see my first granddaughter if I don’t get the covid vaccine. I’m not a vaccine fan (don’t even get the flu vaccine, choosing instead to boost my immune system; so far so good), but prayed about getting it for the sake of my pregnant daughter/her hubs and soon coming baby. God distinctly said to me, “No, don’t do it.” I honestly can’t envision not being at my daughter’s side for her first baby … something we’ve dreamed about together since she was capable of doing so. I’m feeling extreme angst with either decision (get the vaccine against God’s leading or not); I’m clinging to the knowledge that God knows my troubled heart and forgives me. I appreciate Irene’s comment [Irene offered an earlier comment on the same blog post], and your response, Kurt.
Lisa, I really appreciate your comment because so many of us have struggled with the decision about whether or not to be vaccinated. The pandemic has put all of us in these dilemmas. Whether or not to go to a certain place or attend a certain function or be with a certain person. We’re all experiencing these uncomfortable awkward predicaments. The first thing I would say is if you ever hear God tell you to do or not do something, and it’s in alignment with His Holy Word, then do whatever it is He said to do.
Of course the reason I put that qualifying phrase in there about a personal revelation from God being in alignment with His scripture is because we humans can have some interesting matriculations in our brains sometimes. So if I thought God was telling me to steal my neighbor’s package off of his front porch, of course after checking the scriptures I’d immediately realize this is a contradiction against that time God said, “Thou shalt not steal.” That’s a very simple straightforward example and I’m sure every reader will agree with me on that one.
But sometimes it’s not so simple. Lisa’s situation is more complex.
So Lisa, other than encouraging you to check what you heard against scripture, I can’t tell you what decision to make.
All I can do is offer how I would approach the situation personally.
And personally, I sometimes struggle with the idea that God always wants me to do the hard thing. Sometimes, when I have a decision to make, I think God wants me to take the hardest option possible. And indeed, sometimes God does want me to take the most difficult road possible. But I tend to lean that way unnecessarily sometimes.
One thing I find helpful is what happened to the commander of the Syrian army in 2 Kings chapter 5 . I’m sure you already know the story. We see a leper, Commander Naaman, leader of the army of the King of Syria, travel to Samaria to see the prophet Elisha in hopes of being healed. When he arrives, Elisha doesn’t even do him the honor of meeting him personally but instead sends his servant with instructions. And the instructions are relatively simple and easy. Elisha instructs Namaan to wash in the Jordan river seven times. But Namaan’s expectations are violated. Namaan expected something much more difficult, and much more dramatic. So he becomes frustrated and dismisses Elisha’s instructions out of hand. But then Namaan’s servants come to him and say, “Had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more than, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” ( 2 Kings chapter 5 NASB)
So Naaman decided to do the easy thing Elisha asked him to do. And he was healed.
I can be a lot like Naaman sometimes. I tend to think God wants me to do hard things and sometimes He does. But most of the time his burden seems to be lighter than what I expected. (Matthew 11:28-30)
You probably already know about how I did a seven year deep dive into studying how Jesus interacted with people. It resulted in my writing the book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). After seven years of looking at Christ’s life in the Gospels, I’m completely convinced that what God wants from us in this life, what defines a successful life according to God, what the meaning of life is during our time here on planet earth is love. Loving Jesus, loving God, with everything we have, and loving the people around us really well: that’s the whole thing. That’s the whole of scripture. (Matthew 22:36-40)
I can’t tell you what to do Lisa. I wasn’t the one who heard from God the way you did. But for me, after considering Jesus’ life and words in the Gospels, I realized receiving the vaccine would be a great benefit toward my loving the people around me the way God wants me to. For me, receiving the vaccine was in perfect alignment with God’s Holy Word.
For me receiving the vaccine has helped me to love like Jesus.
Now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.