At this point in time, it’s probably safe to say that a large majority of the planet’s population has seen the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” somewhere. Hats, shirts, bracelets, notebooks, bumper stickers… (For those who are wondering, the picture is a wall decal you can find here.) With clever bits of merchandising, this tagline has saturated the market for product integration into life. Despite the fact that it’s been so overused it’s become a parody of itself, it’s still a question that those who follow Christ should be considering on a regular basis.
For me, this phrase usually takes me to a place with a lot of robed guys sporting beards and sandals. There’s no internet there. Or running water.
Don’t get me wrong. When things get tough, I honestly am thinking about what Jesus would do. It’s just that in order to do that, my mind requires that I identify with Him and that immediately launches me into His time, place and location. It’s far different than my life. This gives things a disconnect that lessens the impact of the question itself. What *would* Jesus do…really? Well, I can tell you one thing. He wouldn’t go to Facebook about it. Or blog. (Or would He? I hear the brains out there clicking with possibility. We’ll visit that one another time, okay?)
I’ve had a rough week. I’ll just be honest about that. I’ve been struggling with some things that have happened and I really wasn’t happy about any of them. At. All. WWJD hasn’t popped into my head so much as it’s hovered in front of me constantly like a neon bar sign. As I’ve sorted through my feelings, I really wanted to rise above everything and be perfect. I wanted to smile through it all and show people my tremendous grace and style under pressure. I wanted to be, well… Jesus about the whole thing. As much as I’d like to be though, I’m not Jesus. I admit to moments of absolute and spectacular failure in achieving that goal.
Then last night, a pastor friend of mine from California, shared a quote on his Facebook page that really shifted my perspective.
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if He were you.” –Dallas Willard
Gone are the beards and the dusty streets with no electricity. Suddenly, Jesus is in ME. That sounds trite doesn’t it? For most of us, it’s what we’ve heard in Sunday School or church for most of our lives. But think about that reality for a second. It’s not as much what would Jesus do as what would Jesus do if He were me??
Put Him right here, right now, and that rattles the core of the disconnect between me and the bearded guys in sandals. He is here at this moment and He was there when things got rough. As hard as it is to remember, He’s felt it even more keenly than I have because He can see the bigger picture. I can’t.
In His life, Jesus knew each and every step before it happened. He knew, even when He chose Judas, that the man would betray Him. He still chose Judas. He knew that people would be watching his every move – just waiting for some failure. Still, He healed on the Sabbath and He reached out to those in need. All of this even when the beliefs of the time said He shouldn’t. Even knowing what would happen, Jesus still did everything He needed to do. He stayed on his path. I like to say that He shook the snow globe.
My situation is nowhere near that dire or important. I know that. I do. This revelation hasn’t magically fixed anything about what happened. I’m not aware of any big party hats or celebrations on the schedule for me today. It’s still tough. But today, I’m staying on the path and pressing forward. I need to do what Jesus would do if he were me.