I was born a little late to truly be part of the WWJD movement, but I do have a few recolections of it. I remember choosing woven bracelets at the local Christian bookstore with my grandma. I remember seeing similar bands on the wrists of older girls at school. I believe my mom had a Spanish version of a WWJD band strapped to her “teaching bag.” My brother and I had a book on cassette that told the story of children who always asked the question, “What would Jesus do?”
In truth, this trite phrase has merit. Verses such as I Peter 1:16 tell us to “be holy” because Christ is holy. If we actually apply the question “What would Jesus do?,” we will never sin.
Recently, I read the book When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman. In it, Addie relates her personal narrative of growth in an evangelical family. Some of the stories she told were shocking. Consider the following statements that people made to her:
Jesus fasted for forty days. I think we should try to do everything Jesus did.
One boyfriend told Addie to do 10 push-ups every time she was sarcastic because
Jesus was never sarcastic, and you want to be like Jesus, right?
When Addie was trying to determine where to go on a summer mission trip, she was told to
Kneel on the floor. Draw a circle around yourself and pray. Whatever you do, don’t move from that circle until God gives you an answer.
What?! Is this truly what Jesus would do?
Yes, we should strive to be like Jesus, but not in a cultish, legalistic way. For a minute, I want to poke holes in these three statements and, consequently, the beliefs of many Christians.
I think we should do everything Jesus did.
First of all, Jesus is GOD. He created the world (John 1:1). He healed the sick (Matthew 9:35). He walked on water (Matthew 14). He fed 5,000 people with five rolls and two small fish (Matthew 14). Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose again three days later (I peter 3:18). It would be impossible to do everything that Jesus did.
Even if we only focus on those things which are humanly possible, such as fasting and overcoming temptation, we must remember one key point: Jesus is wholly God. Unlike us, He retained 100% of His deity when He came to earth.
Jesus was never sarcastic.
Except for when He was. I think Luke 7 and Matthew 23 both show that Jesus rightfully used sarcasm on occasion.
Don’t move until God gives you an answer.
The biggest problem with this is that it implies that the person praying will hear an audible answer from God. Addie could have stayed on that floor for years and never known where to go on her missions trip.
So what would Jesus do?
Jesus would spend time with the outcasts (Mark 2:15). Jesus would fight temptation with verses of God’s truth (Matthew 4:4). Jesus would pray fervently for the Father’s guidance (John 5:30).
And I believe that is what we should do as well.