I grew up in a time and a place where WWJD? (“What would Jesus do?”) bracelets were popular. There were so many of them in my day it spawned parodies and became almost cliche.
But, at the heart of it, it’s a great question to ask in any situation. What would Jesus do?
Would He have reached across a political aisle to love people with different opinions? Indeed.
Would He have welcomed broken people and shown grace without watering down the God breathed truth of Scripture? Of course.
But how do we actually live like Jesus?
Third John 11 says, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is bad but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does what is bad has not seen God.”
It sounds relatively easy on the surface, but the world has a funny way of blurring boundaries. What’s superficially nice is not necessarily kind. What initially seems appropriate may be popularity or political correctness in disguise.
Thankfully (and as usual), Scripture helps us.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.”
Galatians 5:22-23 also gives instruction on where we can focus our energy and what virtues the Holy Spirit can cultivate in our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
We can’t imitate God’s power, His omnipotence, or His eternal presence, but we have the perfect example of goodness – and godliness – in Jesus.
C.S. Lewis wrote about this beautifully in his work The Four Loves, saying, “our imitation of God in this life — that is, our willed imitation as distinct from any of the likenesses which He has impressed upon our natures or states — must be an imitation of God incarnate: our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the Divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the Divine life operating under human conditions.”
We won’t ever be perfect, but we should fight and pray and practice to be His true apprentice.
May the world see a glimpse of the goodness of our living God and of the hope of Heaven in our lives.