Did you know that a novel written in 1896 forms part of the background to the acronym "WWJD"?
The book, "In His Steps" was translated into over 21 languages, and was subtitled "What Would Jesus Do?" , and in it a homeless man questioned the authenticity of Christianity, because so many Christians ignored the poor.
"I heard some people singing at a church prayer meeting the other night,
'All for Jesus, all for Jesus,
All my being's ransomed powers,
All my thoughts, and all my doings,
All my days, and all my hours.'
and I kept wondering as I sat on the steps outside just what they meant by it. It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs went and lived them out. I suppose I don't understand. But what would Jesus do? Is that what you mean by following His steps? It seems to me sometimes as if the people in the big churches had good clothes and nice houses to live in, and money to spend for luxuries, and could go away on summer vacations and all that, while the people outside the churches, thousands of them, I mean, die in tenements, and walk the streets for jobs, and never have a piano or a picture in the house, and grow up in misery and drunkenness and sin."
(You can find a copy of the book "In His Steps" online to read or download at Princeton Theological Seminary Library)
The story sold millions of copies worldwide, and was modernised by descendant of the author in the 1990's, replacing some situations, locations, problems and temptations with things that might be encountered today, such as drugs, TV and movies.
When we think of how Jesus would think or act, do we stop to check if we ourselves are on the right track? Do we confront situations with prayer? Do we act compassionately, and provide practical care with a serving attitude? What are our priorities?
Summarised in this graphic are 7 priorities that guided Jesus (from a Bible Study by Mike Fleischmann in Christianity Today, 2003 ) : -
(image template courtesywww.freepik.com)
A word of caution about the "WWJD" movement - it shouldn't be taken too literally. What DID Jesus do? He lived a perfect life so that he could become our perfect sacrifice. He abided by the laws of the day, and lived under the religious code and practices of the Jews. He brought the gospel message to His own people. His life and death became the way that they, and us, could be released from bondage to the Law.
Someone else has said perhaps we should say instead HWJR - How would Jesus relate?
Looking at Jesus' priorities, they are all about relationships. How about our priorities? Do they reflect those of Jesus? Should we be focusing more on relationships? Could we make a resolution to do better?
As we go into 2015, what are your priorities?