WWJD by David Heisler
WWJD – WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? This is a very interesting “motto”. What is a motto? It is defined as “phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding an individual, family, or institution”. And the history of WWJD (according to Wikipedia) is “The phrase “What would Jesus do?” (often abbreviated to WWJD) became popular in the United States in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Evangelical Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents. A follow-up motto answered the question “Fully Rely On God” (often abbreviated to “FROG”). Yeah, we’ll get to FROG later.
Now, I realize that people use the motto WWJD less and less, but the driving force behind it has not gone away. Do we really have a moral imperative to “act like Jesus”? On its face it looks like a pretty good idea. Just always try to be “like Jesus” and the world will probably be a better place. I mean, if we did that wouldn’t we be more concerned, more loving, more devoted less likely to do actions that hurt others, etcetera, etcetera? Makes sense, right?
Okay, the next time you walk into a church on a Saturday afternoon and they are having a rummage sale or bake sale, think about what Jesus might do.
So, I posed the question exactly WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) if He encountered people doing a rummage sale or bake sale in a church. Here are, presumably, “God’s people”using “God’s building” to make money. Would you do exactly what Jesus would do? And I got some very interesting responses, as I assumed I would.
We don’t know exactly what Jesus would do in today’s world. But we know what He did when people used the Temple as a place to buy and sell.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:12,13).
So, am I saying the next time you drive by a church and see a rummage sale in process to stop and cause a great scene and end up in jail? No. But, I am making a point about the motto of WWJD and the entire line of thinking in Christianity that supports such statements. This is a classic example of a good intention, with even a well-reasoned approach that is utterly and absolutely dead wrong. I have a much better motto. You might consider customizing it for your own use. My motto is WIDDRN.
There is nothing wrong with rummage and bake sales. But, there is a fundamental flaw in our thinking that Jesus is “just” an example of how to live. I use the story of what happened in the temple only to illustrate this problem. On that particular day He was beside Himself with rage and anger. He would have failed the WWJD test on that day.
I mentioned my motto – WIDDRN – What Is David Doing Right Now. Suffice to say at the moment is that we must move to a point, in our thinking and understanding, knowing that He, in fact, lives in us, moves in us and thinks in us, right now. We are not looking to a God outside of ourselves, Who gave us an example of “how to live”. We become firm and convicted in our heart that He has taken up His permanent residence within each of us. We must come to a point where we can trust that and not doubt and simply live. But, more on that later.
Paul makes a very curious statement – “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). Paul wrote this statement probably, at least, a generation after the resurrection. Very few folk that he preached to had ever seen or known the historical Jesus. He is saying that, although at one time, people did know Jesus, “after the flesh” – the historical person – He is not the One we know today.
So, Paul tells us we do not know “Christ after the flesh”, which means we don’t know an historical Christ. Yes, of course Jesus the Christ lived in history two thousand years ago. Abraham Lincoln lived in history 150 years ago. We don’t know either of those historical figures, but we know about them. The difference is that the Christ we know is not in a history book. The One we know is not subject to translations and interpretations. The Christ we know is internal. “… we have this treasure (Him) in (our) earthen vessels (our person)” (2 Cor. 4:7). There is no outer, historical Christ to consider what He might do in any given circumstance. There is an inner eternal Christ.
Now, Peter gives us an interesting statement that, on the surface seems to contradict what I just said. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps …”(1 Peter 2:21). Is Peter giving credence to the WWJD motto? Not at all. The “example” that Peter is referring to is the way in which Jesus understood and had perspective on the redeemed life.
Jesus did not look outside of Himself for the manner in which He lived. Although He certainly struggled at times with His mission and the eternal purpose of His life, He did not question or second-guess Himself. He did not live by the motto of WWGD – What Would God Do? How do we know that?
As I mentioned, Jesus did not live by any mottos. But, if He did, certainly it would have been – WIJDRN – WHAT IS JESUS DOING RIGHT NOW. And, what did Jesus understand, and what was his perspective on the redeemed life? And what is the example that Peter says He gives to us that we should follow? Well, He was spontaneous and yet He knew that He expressed the Life within. Jesus did not look to an outside entity to model – He just lived. And, He lived no differently than us.
I asked the question: “How do we know this?”We have many examples of people coming to Jesus asking Him to heal them. And what is His common response? “And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” (Matt. 9:28). So, on the one hand Jesus seems to take credit for His ability to heal. He asks the blind men if they think that He, not God, is “able to do this?” So, in that sense it is clear that He is spontaneous and healing folk if that is His choice. But, at other times He makes it clear that He, Himself does nothing at all. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10).
So, which is it? Does Jesus do the healing or the Father in Him?
I asked the question, “Does Jesus do the healing or the Father in Him?” It’s actually a trick question. It’s based on a faulty premise. For the question to be answerable the premise assumes a separation exists between Jesus and the Father. There is no separation.
“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
That sentence alone is the key to the spontaneous nature of Jesus’ life. He never thought of what someone else might do. He never modeled his behavior after another. He just lived with the intimate knowledge and assurance of His union. Don’t get me wrong, He wasn’t born with that knowledge – knowledge, understanding and revelation are acquired. But, He lived his life as a man – 100% – no tricks up His sleeve.
But, that’s Him, not me, right? But, He’s Christ and I’m supposed to “act” like Him, right? But, He’s my role model, right?
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22). Which one of Jesus’ prayers was not answered? Is this prayer not answered?
So I posed the question as to whether the following prayer of Jesus is answered:
“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22).
Well, that’s simple. Are we “one” as He was One with the Father? Yes, of course we are, both eternally and every day. Why is that important? It’s probably the most important question we will ever ask ourselves. And the answer is that clearly we can live with the same spontaneity as Jesus did. On the one hand we can say “I will do so and so.” On the other hand we can say “He is doing so and so in me.” Do you get the point? Either way it’s the same thing. We can assume the same “oneness” as Jesus assumed His Oneness. And, “oneness” can be so real and so spontaneous that it is unconscious at times. One friend reminds me of the almost unconscious Oneness that Jesus had.
“Given the preoccupation with signs and wonders, as a prerequisite for God being in this or not, or us being in or out a spontaneous relationship, unconscious healing does seem out of place. Yet, in the healing of the woman with the blood flow Jesus was not even aware that He had “performed” a healing.”
So we see there were times when Jesus wasn’t even conscious of the flow of life and healing through Him. That is a complete 180 degree turn from wondering what anyone else would do. Jesus had, at times, a virtual unconscious Oneness. So, it seems if you want to consider WWJD – then do nothing – nothing out of the ordinary – nothing where you think you must model another. Just be yourself enjoying “unconscious oneness”.
However, when some insist on asking WWJD I truly wonder if they consider some of the things He actually did do. I’ve already mentioned the violent clearing of the temple. But consider what a friend of mine reminds me of:
“To think that we are fed such ‘trite’ food for living the Christian life. Being LIKE Jesus is kin to being LIKE the ‘most high’… Believe me, when people start finding out what Jesus was really like they will run for their lives. Just like the 5000 did when they ran after Jesus to feed their bellies one more time. And he viciously turned on them and said: “so you want to eat again, well I’ll tell you what real eating is: “… eat my flesh and drink my blood”. And they all ran away except the 12 … and he looked at them and said “Will you go too.”? But they answered: “Where will we go? … You have the words of life.”
And … let’s not forget when Jesus called the Samaritan woman a dog (Matt. 15.22-28) As a human, Jesus was a pure love expression – yet – at times He could whittle anyone to the ground with His fierce tongue. Why was He like that? He loved so dearly that He spoke the truth no matter how much temporary pain He created. He got the bigger picture. And, what’s wrong with WWJD? What’s wrong with trying to be “Like the Most High”? (Isa.14:14). You know.
When you really consider some things Jesus did and said you might not want Him as a role model. And He is not – except for this one point – He knew His union and Oneness and He lived the truth of that regardless of the circumstance or how He felt at the moment. But, more important He knew and trusted the reality of the Father living His life in Him, as Jesus. The “good news” is that this very same truth is our truth – do you dare believe it? He lives His life in you. We are the expression. The more unconscious – the better.
So, as I conclude this topic I ask myself only WIDDRN? If you ask yourself that question your answer might be something like, “I’m just living my life as He lives His live in me”.
The reason we don’t ask WWJD – “what would Jesus do”, is because we don’t see Him as a separate Person anymore. Rather we see Him, not just in us, but as us. We learn to trust our desires and our hunches. He’ll take care of the course correction if needed. He is the rudder – unseen at times.
In my thinking, first, there were two parallel lines – Him and me. Then there was a blurring of the lines. That’s a good thing – we’re on the right track. Then there is one line – Him as me, me as Him.
Remember when your kids were very little and periodically they would look at you to make sure everything was okay. I remember my son doing that. He would run over just to check in and run away again. Then your kids stopped doing that so much. They became trustworthy and you trusted them. The reality is that they are always your seed and express the life that you gave them – and at some point they also trust themselves, as they know who they are and where they came from. Get the point? There comes a time when we stop checking in so often and just live. We are trustworthy, and most important, we know it.
And, if your thought at this moment is, well, “I have to work at it” – you can stop now.