We have been challenged repeatedly to consider the question, “What would Jesus do?” before making decisions or taking action. This sounds like a good idea, and I believe has had positive results for many people in helping them be more like Jesus in their day-to-day living.
However, for me personally, I tend to feel guilty when I imagine how Jesus would handle a situation but I just can’t quite measure up in my own response. Imagining Jesus walking in my shoes, living my life, in all of His perfection and maturity, I try but… come on! After all, He is God… and I… well, you get the idea. Maybe you have even felt the same way. Comparing myself to Him I feel selfish, lazy, inconsiderate, and definitely unspiritual. (I only feel good about some of those areas when I compare myself to certain other people, but we can always find someone else worse than us!)
I tried to change the verb tense a little, and reflect on what Jesus actually did in similar situations that we read about in the Gospels. This helps some but is a little limited as I can’t find an example to fit with everything I go through. So if past tense doesn’t work, how about future tense? What will Jesus do? Still doesn’t work, I can’t live in the future! I need something that works for me now.
I have found that the problem isn’t in the timing of the verb, but in my focus on me doing what Jesus would do. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you, but sometimes I can get too legalistic in my demands on myself. And the result of that is always self-condemnation, which doesn’t get me any closer to being Christ-like.
What has really set me free in my journey toward being like Jesus has been the realization that this kind of imagination always has Jesus separate from us, with us watching His example and striving to do the same thing. In reality, Jesus dwells in every believer by His Spirit. It gives me an immense sense of freedom to realize that He, in me, wishes to live through me.
So I have changed the question to, “What does Jesus do?” Because I know that for anything worthwhile to come out of my actions and attitudes, I must let Him do it. Each moment, I face the decision to either do it my own natural way or let Him live His life in me. When I feel like my attitudes begin to slip, I find myself crying out to Him, “Love through me! Give through me! Let Your mercy and forgiveness flow through me!”
I still have my moments – plenty of them – but I’m beginning to see more of His life coming through.
So what does Jesus do through you?
To whom God willed to make known what are the richesof the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory… (Col. 1:27)