WWJD: On Emulating & Becoming

WWJD bracelets were, I think, mildly “cool” back in the day, long before I was a Christian and long before I really understood how it was that Jesus acted which made the rest of the world so eager to emulate him.

“What would Jesus do?” It’s a worthwhile question we, as Christians, ask ourselves often.

There was a significant period of time, when I was new to the faith, where I read my Bible through this lens: WWJD? I’d see Jesus responding to people with gentleness and grace, giving freely to others, and think: “Yes, Jesus acts like that so so will I.” In my own immaturity, and from a lack of understanding, I viewed this God-man through a perspective of behavior management. I saw Jesus and read in between the lines: “this is how to be a Christian. To follow Jesus, be like him.”

I wonder how many other Christians do the same.

This mindset is, of course, not completely wrong. We do, and we will, become like Jesus if we follow him sincerely.

But, what we like to put effort and striving to, I think Jesus did naturally. I’m starting to wonder and believe that Jesus didn’t act holy so much as he just was holy. What comes with a conscious decision for us, because of sin, came as a free outpouring of his nature for him.

We look at Jesus and see someone perfect, someone who did all the right things, and we rightly try to be like him. But I think Jesus lived out of his being. And I think I’ve overestimated his effort to do so, because he is perfect and we are not.

He simply was himself.

And I wonder if that’s how the process of sanctification is really supposed to work: less of our own efforts to do “good Christian works,” and more of immersing ourselves in Jesus’ love and finding him beautiful and holy… less of a weird, works-based legalism, and more of a Spirit-led undoing of old, broken habits. Then being surprised when, without much thought or effort, we find ourselves doing what Jesus would, indeed, do.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast…”

Jesus, come dwell in our hearts, richly. You will both start and finish the work, amen. 💛

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