Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Are You His? Are You Sure?

Dear Friends,

I wrote last week, “We need to live in such a way that people see the image of Jesus reflected within us. Because in today’s culture, that’s growing more and more secular, you may be the only Jesus that some people will ever see.” That’s not a new thought...

Priests and pastors have been encouraging their fellow Christians to live a God-honoring lifestyle ever since Paul first put a reed pen to parchment. Do you remember when it was cool for Christians to wear wristbands that said W.W.J.D? 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 Him. In 1896, preacher Charles Sheldon, wrote a book called “IN HIS STEPS – What Would Jesus Do?” This timeless book was a call for Christians to show their faith as an outward action toward others, and 100 years later it sparked the W.W.J.D? movement in our own generation. 

The W.W.J.D? crusade in the ‘90's was the rage among youth groups, and Christians of all ages were encouraged 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. We are seeing and hearing that Christians are losing, or have lost, their influence in our society and yet many of us have marginalized our own faith by turning our backs on God. We no longer do what Jesus would do but what a cultural influencer, a politician, or our friends would do or what our horoscope says to do 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 influenced by the Word; the other is influenced by the World. Jesus established the church to impact and influence culture and yet too often it’s the secular culture that impacts and influences 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 selves?

When we give ourselves over completely and fully to the Holy Spirit within each one of us, 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, could it be possible that we are 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. And 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. That treasure we’ve stored up comes from reading His Word and following Jesus. 

“We are saved through Christ alone by faith alone. 
The evidence of our salvation
is our good works and changed life.”

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. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you wisdom and insight. Ask yourself: What would Jesus decide to do if He were me in this circumstance? What would Jesus say? How would Jesus respond to that email or text? How would Jesus act if He were in my situation? 

Search “W.W.J.D? bracelets” on Amazon and you’ll see hundreds of choices. But some of us today may be too old, too cranky or too vain to wear a W.W.J.D? bracelet 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 we Christians are following in the footsteps of secular culture then we’re walking in the wrong direction.

Maybe we need to reverse that trend and start a W.W.J.D? fad that’s new all over again. Amazon and Christian retailers have some really nice W.W.J.D? bracelets and you could wear one to remind you to seek His will. Write W.W.J.D? on post-its and put them in your house. In the bathroom where you start your day or near your front door to remind you as you leave your home. Maybe on the dashboard of your car to remind you of what Jesus would do if that driver had cut Him off on the freeway. Perhaps a post-it on your desk at work. Maybe upload a W.W.J.D? background on your phone. You'll undoubtedly think of even better ways to remind yourself.

And finally.. are you unsure if you really do want to actually start following Jesus at this point in your life? If you're not sure, then ask yourself, if Jesus were you.. W.W.J.D?

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