As an individual, you are trying to decide what to do in some situation. Just ask WWJD. “What Would Jesus Do?”
Or, as a small group or house church, you are are trying to decide what your purpose or mission is. Or, what to do in this week’s meeting. Just ask WWJD. “What Would Jesus Do?”
Sounds good, doesn’t it? What could be more spiritual than trying to figure out what Jesus would do if He were in your shoes. Turns out there is a much better alternative. Ask Jesus Himself.
You see, there is an (unspoken) underlying assumption with WWJD. It is that Jesus is not presently available. Or, if He is available, He’s not communicating with you. Or, if He is communicating, you don’t know how to hear Him. So, WWJD is the alternative. You know a lot of information about Jesus from the Bible and, based on that, you can attempt to figure out what he might do in your situation. Many people do this same kind of thing with other respected historical figures. They base their decision making on the life and teachings of some great person. What would George Washington do in this situation? “What Would George Do?” (WWGD) Or, what would Gandhi do? (WWGD) Etc. (Hey, we could start a whole new business selling wrist bands with these initials!)
There are at least three reason why WWJD is a poor alternative .
1. God’s ways are not our ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways ways your ways, ” declares the Lord.” (Is. 55:8) The life of Peter gives us a good example of why trying to figure out what Jesus would do is a problem. Peter had spent several years hanging out with Jesus every day. Watching how He lived. Listening to His teaching. If anyone would have been able to “figure out” WWJD, it would be Peter. But, when Jesus began to explain that He must go to Jerusalem and be killed (Mt. 16:21), Peter “took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him.” Well, we know what happened next! (“Get behind me, Satan!”). The fact is that none of us are smart enough to be able to predict what Jesus would do if He were in our shoes. His thoughts are not our thoughts.
2. Jesus didn’t live this way. Of course, for Him the initials would have been WWFD. “What would Father do?” But, Jesus didn’t wear a wrist band with those initials. And, He didn’t live His life asking that question. He didn’t presume to think that He could “figure out” what to do based on His past experience with the Father. Rather, in every situation, His guiding principle was to find out what the Father was doing in the present and do that. “The Son does nothing on His own initiative: He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” (Jn 5:19) If Jesus did nothing on His own initiative, if he never tried to figure out WWFD, what does that say for us?
3. WWJD ignores the present role of the Spirit. We have something (or Someone!) far better than our own ability to reason things out. We have present access to a real Person who we can ask for directions. Here’s what Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (Paraklete) to be with you forever… (Jn 14:15) The word “another” here means “another one just like the first one”. Jesus was the first Paraklete. Clearly, the disciples understood that they were to have the same kind of relationship with the Spirit that they had had with Jesus for the last three years. A relationship in which they could talk everything over with Him.
John and Stasi Eldredge explain this way of “living by listening” in their book on marriage, Love & War. “The secret of the Christian life – and the Christian marriage – is that you don’t have to figure it out. You don’t have to figure life out, you don’t have to figure each other out, you don’t have to figure parenting out, or money or family. You have a counselor, you have a guide – you have God. What a relief that we don’t have to figure it all out! We get to walk with God. That is the beauty of Christian spirituality. This is not about mastering principles; it’s about an actual relationship with an actual person who happens to be the wisest, kindest, and ok, wildest person you will every know.” (p. 131)
Are you trying figure out what to do in a particular situation? Is your house church trying to figure out what their purpose or mission is? “What relief that we don’t have to figure it out!” We don’t need to try and figure out WWJD.
Because we can ask Jesus Himself!
That’s what the LK10 Community is about. We are committed to introducing individuals and house churches to living by listening. “My sheep hear my voice”.