WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?
Lately we’ve been hearing people say, “2020 is turning out to be a very. bad. year.”
Agreed. And not in just one corner of the globe, but all around it. People are tired, worried, and afraid. So perhaps it’s time to revisit an acronym that peaked in popularity for Christians in the 1990s: WWJD? What Would Jesus Do?
The intent of the acronym — which appeared on loads of products, including jewelry, keychains, book covers, T-shirts, bumper stickers, school binders, and more — was to remind Jesus followers to pause and ponder before “doing.” To know why we think the way we do, and take the actions we take. Asking, “WWJD?” to discern the answers to fluff questions (“Cap’N Crunch cereal or Cocoa Puffs?”) doesn’t work so well. But it does help us to answer big, weighty questions, including how to respond to our weariness, worry, and fears around COVID-19 and the hatred fueling racism.
What Would Jesus Do? The Bible gives us two clear action steps that help us to manage fatigue and anxiety — and know how to love others.
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What Would Jesus Do … to withstand life’s pressures?
If still housed in His human body, it’s possible that Jesus might endorse chilling with serenity candles, green tea smoothies, and feel-good reruns of Touched By an Angel, Little House on the Prairie, and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
But in His low-tech life of dust and donkeys, the Bible tells us that when Jesus needed recharging, replenishing, and renewing, He didn’t turn to TV or Facebook, but to God. Don’t miss this: He got alone … in quiet solitude … with the Giver of Life. So, to be like Jesus, we also should unplug and tune in to God without interruption or distraction.
It’s popular these days for Christians to set up “prayer closets” in their homes or offices. I’m not gonna lie; the first time I heard of a “prayer closet,” I thought it was hokey. But, really, what’s not to love about space you dedicate for God chats, whether in a corner of your bedroom or an actual closet. Especially if you post this sign for others: “Thus Sayeth the Lord, ‘Thou Shalt Not Interrupt!'”
God, alone, can fill us with the real hope, peace, and calm we desperately need. He’s the only one with any real control over this crazy world, and deep down we know it. In God we gain the only relationship in which we can fully unload, share, and confess — and still be 100 percent understood and accepted. Amazing grace! When we rest in His grace, we can escape the pull of this crazy world.
Modern life is so fast-paced that we NEED these regular one-on-one recharge sessions to get our minds straight about what’s really important, so that we live lives that honor Him. But let’s admit that we are a society super uncomfortable with stillness and silence. A society SUPER uncomfortable admitting and addressing the difficult issues seething in our society today.
As we’re seeing so clearly right now, ignoring hate doesn’t make it goes away. It festers and grows, turning violent. To be part of the solution, God tells us, repeatedly, to pray. To invite Him to move and purify our hearts and minds — because we humans do a really lame job of loving, affirming, and supporting each another on our own. Hating someone because of their skin color? Stupid.
I get that prayer feels HARD. And not only because it requires focus and silence, but because we’ve been trained to rely on our own strength as we attempt to keep up by multi-tasking. We’re drowning — and we know it — so we run faster on the hamster wheel, instead of skidding to a stop and looking up. Do we not recognize God’s great love and limitless power? You and I MUST meet regularly with God in prayer, if we are to love well and selflessly, to right wrongs that will heal our great country.
Like you and me, Jesus was incredible busy. Once word got out that He was the man to see for free healing, He was dogged by crowds everywhere He went. Faced with their endless need, Jesus recognized His great need to slip away for “God time” to keep his priorities straight. We should do the same.
The Bible doesn’t tell us that Jesus ever got cranky (okay, there was that time He pushed over the temple vendor tables). But it does tell us that He got tired. And so full of fear and anxiety on the night before His crucifixion, that blood mingled with the sweat on His brow. In those low moments Jesus didn’t “lose His religion.” He did the opposite: He connected with the only source that could provide the hope and strength and peace He desperately needed to do what He came to do.
Jesus was able to stay consistent, because He was consistent in seeking God, who stilled, refilled, and directed Him.
What Would Jesus Do … to reflect God’s love?
Jesus did not swerve in His commitment to honor God with His words and actions. He hinged His behavior on our two greatest commandments: Love God, and love others. Period. Not just the people we want to love. But everyone that God loves … which is everyone. White. Black. Tall. Short. Gay. Straight. Rich. Poor. Capitalist. Socialist. Atheist. Committed Christ-follower. Everyone.
Basically, we are to follow The Golden Rule: do unto others as we’d like them to do to us. Not when we feel like it. And not when it’s convenient. But as our go-to default, the bullseye we are to aim for — with every bit of our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
Want your fears to be calmed? Calm the fears of others. Want to experience peace? Offer the peace of Jesus. Want understanding? Default to seek to understand others. Jesus reminds us that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Serve, where you can, when you can, and as best you can. Above all, LOVE.
Let me blunt here: if you have hate in your heart toward other persons because of their skin color or sexual orientation, you definitely should ask yourself, “WWJD with my hate?” Friend, He would tell you that you are NOT living up to the “love your neighbor as yourself” part of Matthew 22.
What are some steps you can take right now to show God and others that you admit that racism is totally unacceptable? You can educate yourself on the racial history of our country. You can graciously engage in conversation with your non-White friends. You can acknowledge that privilege in this country has ALWAYS been unfairly distributed on the basis of color. And you can offer a helping hand, that others may rise.
Some really good links to educate you, so you’ll actively become part of the solution to end racism. Start with this sermon by Jeff Jones, the lead pastor of Chase Oaks Church in Plano, Texas. Watch movies like Selma and this documentary, which painfully confirm the white on black hate that is an inexcusable part of our nation’s history. Watch every Netflix and Prime program on the topic that you can get your eyes on. Read fiction and non-fiction books. Educate yourself on the truth, even if it requires changes in your life that are inconvenient.
Only God knows what’s in store for us for the remaining months of 2020. If we will produce hope and love, or future hate. You and I, through our attitude, words, and actions, will determine which. WWJD? #letsbelikeJesus
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