Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Be a Cool Christian

Dear Friends,

Do you remember when it was cool for Christians to wear wristbands that said WWJD? The initials stood for the words, “What Would Jesus Do?” and that was a movement in the late 1990's to encourage Christians to not just believe in Jesus but to act like Jesus. In 1896, a Congregationalist preacher, Charles Sheldon, wrote a book called IN HIS STEPS – What Would Jesus Do?  That book was a call for Christians to show their faith as an outward action toward others and that timeless book sparked the WWJD? movement in our own generation. 

That crusade in the ‘90's was the rage among youth groups and encouraged Christians of all ages to follow Jesus and do what He would do. But that passion to follow Jesus has faded in many churches today as more and more Christians have allowed their life to be shaped not by the Word of God but by the world we live in. Some of us complain that Christians are losing, or have lost, their influence in our society and yet we are the ones who have marginalized our faith by turning our back on God. We no longer do what Jesus would do but what a celebrity or politician or a best friend would do or what our horoscope says that day. 

There are two very different and distinct families of Christians today. Those who try to base their thoughts, words and actions on the Word of God. And then there are those who live their life and make decisions as if they were God. One family of Christians is being shaped by the Word, the other by the world. Jesus established the church to impact and influence culture and many have allowed the secular culture to impact and influence the church. W. Paul Jones is a professor, theologian and a monk. He said that “Christians who permit themselves to be shaped by secular culture are guilty, not only of betraying God, but of losing their own true selves.”  A Christian is defined as one who follows Jesus. But if we are a “Christian” who is following secular culture and not Jesus, are we then still a Christian? Or have we lost our true self?

When we give ourselves over completely and fully to the Holy Spirit, we are motivated by the love of God and that love is manifested toward others. When we come into the presence of God our life is irrevocably changed and our Christian faith will be clearly visible in our life and our lifestyle. A Christian lifestyle of good works toward others flows out of our relationship with Jesus, so if there is no evidence of Christ-like behavior in our lives, are we then just Christians in name only? 

James, the brother of Jesus, said it as plain as you can get: “faith is dead without good works.” James 2:26 NLT Pastor and Protestant theologian Timothy Keller clarifies that for us: “We are saved through Christ alone by faith alone. The evidence of our salvation is our good works and changed life.” Our good works and changed life is evidenced by the visible manifestation of the “Fruit of the Spirit” Gal 5:22-23 in our lives. In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus describes good works as the fruit that comes from the good treasure that we have stored up in our heart by God’s grace. If someone were to inspect the “fruit” produced by your faith, would they see the evidence of your salvation? 

So how do you do what Jesus would do? The first step is to read your Bible, particularly the Gospels. If you don’t, you’ll have no idea what Jesus would do if He were in your situation or faced with your decision. Then submit choices and decisions to Him. Ask yourself, “What would Jesus decide to do if He were me in this circumstance? What would Jesus say? How would Jesus respond? How would Jesus act if He were in this situation?”

Search “WWJD Bracelets” on and you’ll see dozens of choices. But some of us today may be too old, too cranky or too vain to wear a plastic bracelet that says WWJD? and I admit to being two out of the three. But even if we don’t wear a bracelet, maybe it’s time for us to be one of the cool Christians again that actually follows Jesus. Because if us Christians are following in the foot-steps of secular culture then we’re walking in the wrong direction. We need to reverse that trend and start a WWJD fad that’s new all over again. Wear a bracelet or even a rubber band around your wrist to remind you. Or write WWJD? on a post-it and put it on the bathroom mirror or on the inside of your front door so that you’ll see it when you leave the house. Or maybe upload a WWJD? background on your smartphone. Then watch how this “new” fad to do “what Jesus would do” will change your life. AMEN?

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