Most of you have seen that abbreviation for "What would Jesus Do?". It was a bit of a craze among Christian marketers a while back. I avoided it, not because I thought something was fundamentally wrong with the slogan, but because of my aversion to all things trite, neatly packaged and just plain lame. It just never seemed to fit right.
For some reason the WWJD slogan popped into my brain the other day. Once trapped in my head I started to ponder it in my overly analytical geeky way. So this is the summary of my very obscure topic and random thought process.
Asking ourselves "What would Jesus do?" isn't so much wrong as it is painfully incomplete. We may as well ask ourselves what would Gandhi do? What would Mother Theresa do? What would Oprah do? Then we could pull ourselves up by the boot straps, give ourselves a good moral lecture, try our darndest to figure out what Jesus would hypothetically do in our situation and then attempt to copy it.
All it does is encourage us to be Jesus fans, not actual followers (or dorks wearing lame bracelets). Jesus wasn't just a good example to follow for positive moral lessons, or sent to "improve our image of God" (as if God has a PR problem).....he was sent on a rescue mission. God's law shows us how desperately far we are from him, the gospel shows us how far God is willing to go to reach us. Jesus isn't a moral formula to decipher.
Perhaps a better question would be "What DID Jesus do?" ....followed by "What does Jesus still do?"
When we are completely saturated with, overwhelmed under, and transformed by what Jesus DID... that changes what we do...or more accurately WHO we are. Out of the transformation of who we are, what we do comes naturally....or as naturally as it ever can in this life.
We have been buried and resurrected with him, given the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and are being made new...through that same gospel by which we were saved. We don't trade it in at the door for white knuckled hypothetical moral guessing.
The gospel isn't just something we believe in order to be saved. It isn't a creed to hang our hats on. It is something that lives in us, through us, and empowers us. Continually.
So the next time I am temped to coddle life sucking resentment and bitterness because someone sabotaged my hopes, lied about me, slandered me, wounded someone I love, or treated me unjustly.......I will ask myself "What did Jesus do?"
There's nothing hypothetical in it.
He forgave me. In fact, while I was still vying for HIS throne, he left it to pursue me. He loved me. He served me...not because I deserved anything less than to carry the weight of my own sin...but because of his incredible grace. In that place of broken, eyes wide open, humility and gratitude...how can I not do the same with my enemies?
The next time I am tempted to live a life of passive complacency and people pleasing idolatry I will remind myself "What did Jesus do?"
He defeated death and our sin. The battle is won. It is finished. He came for us! How can I not proclaim that passionately?
The next time I am tempted to choose self preservation, comfort, and safety over sacrificial, radical love....you guessed it.. "What DID Jesus do?"
The God of the universe who commands the armies of angels... made himself an embryo whose sole purpose was to grow up, suffer, and die. I could go on from there...but you get the point.
So instead of asking myself "What would Jesus do?" in life's tricky, messy, sometimes wretched dilemmas, (most of us would mess it up, or just plain guess wrong anyhow).....I'm just going to keep preaching the gospel to myself.
The only worthwhile answer to WWJD question would be....rely completely upon the Holy Spirit, as he voluntarily submitted himself to the will of the Father, to the glory of God and the good of all mankind.
Because of that truth, I can celebrate the perfect sufficiency of Christ, rest in his grace, lean on his power, kneel before his forgiveness, submit to his will, trusting that HE will make me new. God is going to do what he delights in doing most in a heart that is continually surrendered to him. Even if I don't wear the bracelet.