A while back the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets were all the rage. They still pop up now an then. Like tying a piece of string to your finger, I believe the the WWJD bracelets were supposed to be reminders to live your life in a more Christ-centric way, to evaluate your actions in the context of what you think Jesus would do in a similar situation. It is certainly an appealing and catchy sentiment that appeals to our desires to “do the right thing.” There’s just one problem.
It’s asking the wrong question.
Asking WWJD means that you are guessing. You’re taking your best estimate as to what YOU think is the right answer in this situation. You are trying to live your life like Jesus lived his. So, does that mean that are you wondering if you should go overturn the tables in the temple courtyard? Should you go live in the wilderness for 40 days, or get in the Pharisees’ face about their legalism? Should you go hang out in the lunch room at IRS headquarters so you can fulfill your mandate to consort with tax collectors?
Uh….probably not. See, the thing is, you CAN’T LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE JESUS, because he was the Son of God. He set an unachievable goal. He didn’t set us an example to follow…He gave us a path to follow! He didn’t come to give us a list of do’s and don’ts…He came to show us the way to the Father. Jesus only gave us two commandments…”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
I propose that you can’t really do the second one until you start doing the first one!
So, instead of wondering WWJD, what we should be asking is, “What Would You Have Me Do, Lord?”
See, the thing is, we don’t have to wonder. We don’t have to guess. As believers in Christ we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we have a hot line straight to God, such that when difficult situations arise, we don’t need to look to our bracelet…we can go right to The Source.
While, granted, WWJD fits better on a bracelet or a T-Shirt or a bumpersticker than “WWYHMDL,” we need to understand that relying on our best guess estimates makes us the arbiters of truth. It becomes too easy to live life according to a series of handy, and often changeable “Jesusisms” that reduce His Word to little more than philosophical precepts. We might as well ask what would Gahndi do, or Buddha, or Oprah. Jesus was not just another philosopher exhorting us to live better lives.
He called us to live our lives in service to Him, and the only way we are ever really going to know what that is supposed to look like is to ask…HIM.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Prov. 14:12
The key word in this passage is the word “seems.” There is an answer which “seems” right to us, a way that “ought” to be correct, or a solution that “feels” good. Except that, if it is OUR way, then it is wrong.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord , and turn away from evil. Prov 3:5-7
Lean not on your own understanding. Rather than do what “feels right,” study the scriptures, pray, come before the Lord and ask Him to tell you what to do.
We are too easily swayed by the ways of the world to trust our own judgement when it comes to spiritual matters. So, instead of settling for What Would Jesus Do, let’s keep asking, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
You may not always like the right answer, but it’s always better than feeling good about the wrong one.