“Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”1 John 2:6
“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”Billy Graham
WWJD? If you’re anything like me, at some time or another, you have rolled your eyes at this. You hear this phrase all the time, I know you do, because I do, too. There’s billboards, journals, bracelets, bumper stickers, and even tattoos with these 4 letters on them. And it’s a nice concept, it really is. But how often do you actually consider WWJD before you do something? Think about that for a minute.
My dad just finished reading the book “In His Steps” by Charles Sheldon. In summary, this book is about 4 people in a small town who chose not to act without first considering what Jesus would have done. My dad pointed out to me that I wear a WWJD bracelet on my wrist every single day. I know this of course, because it’s on MY wrist! But if I’m being completely honest, I only know it subconsciously. I don’t think about it everyday; I don’t even look at it everyday. But if you asked me what was on my wrist, I’d be able to tell you. My dad then challenged me with this question: how often do I really consider what Jesus would do before I act or respond? The answer is rarely. I kinda wanna give myself the benefit of the doubt and think about that 1 single time I considered what Jesus would do BEFORE I acted and not what Anna would do. Buttttttt I really can’t think of one. That’s not going to say that I never act as Jesus would act. I really like to think in some situations I’m loving and I’m patient and I’m graceful the way Jesus would be. But those actions aren’t because I seriously thought about how Jesus would act, I simply acted in the right way at the right time. So with dad’s question, I really started thinking. And I hope it gets you thinking, too.
1 John 2:6 clearly tells us that if we say we are Christians and abide in Jesus, we should be walking in the same way in which He walked. This means dying to self and your own desires. No more should you rely on your own instincts to act; you are to walk how Jesus walked. In other words, if you’re in a situation in which a response is required, your response should be an imitation of Jesus’s response to that same situation, not your own response. This is tough when we live in a world where self is glorified. We are told it’s all about us. I’m the owner of myself. I do what I want. I follow my own passions and desires. It’s all about meeeeee. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s not about us at all. Read that again. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s all about Jesus. And we, as Christians, need to start acting like that. How can we be living examples of Jesus if we don’t act like He acted and if we don’t talk like He talked? We can’t. We can talk the talk all day every day, but until we start walking the walk in (addition to talking the talk – this can’t get neglected), we aren’t being good stewards of the assignment the Lord gave us – to glorify Him in all we do.
I’ve been thinking about this blog topic for almost two weeks. I felt like I was missing something. But it wasn’t until my boyfriend said something that the whole thing clicked. If I wanna be like Jesus, I can’t rely on my own strength – I MUST rely on His strength. I mentioned in an earlier paragraph about dying to self and my own desires. But I’d say this also means I must die to my own strength if I wanna walk like Jesus walked and talk like Jesus talked. I can’t rely on myself or my strength to act in imitation of Jesus – humans are only so strong. My strength will fail me every day of the week. But Praise the Lord that He’s the Lord. He has infinite strength and power. Relying on Jesus’ strength is the only way I can ever come close to following in His steps – my human strength is simply not strong enough to resist my earthly desires. And sorry to break it to ya, but neither are yours. Don’t forget – Jesus was tested his whole life and never sinned. His strength is the only strength that is strong enough to help us act not to our own desires, but His.
So next time a friend tests your patience, how are you going to act? Are you going to snap and say something hurtful? What about when you find out that a friend spoke negatively behind your back? Will you talk negatively about them, too? What about the next time you’re tempted to do something that disagrees with your morals and your standards but, oh baby, is it tempting? The next time you want to say something or do something, before you do so, think about what Jesus would do. Jesus never speaks negatively about someone, friend or foe. Jesus would never do something He knew to be wrong. Jesus doesn’t hurt others out of hurt. But if you’re at all like me, I tend to hurt others when I’ve been hurt. And this tears me up. Hurting someone when I’ve been hurt actually hurts me more than the initial hurt. Why? Because (1) I knew better. I knew I should have waited to properly think about a response before I responded and (2) because I genuinely hate hurting people. I do. So if I start to think about how Jesus would respond to a situation, I’m less likely to say or do something I’ll later regret. But more than that, I’m more likely to walk in Jesus’ steps and therefore become a better witness to those around me. When you have eternity on your mind, you act and say things differently.
Billy Graham said it so beautifully. Being a Christian is not an instantaneous conversion but is a daily process where you grow to be more and more like Christ. But in order to grow to become more and more like Christ, you’ve got to rely on His strength every single day of the week. Not only that, you have to be thoughtful about what Jesus would do if He was in your situation. Don’t wait until after the situation is over and done with to think about what Jesus would have done. Instead, think about it before you act. If you want others to see Jesus in you, WWJD your situation. Rely on His strength to be slow to speak and slow to act. Imitating how Jesus acted is the best way for others to see Jesus.