What Would Jesus Do? Concept vs. Relationship
What would Jesus do? It is a phrase that many use to remind themselves of a better path. The problem with the question is that we can use it to create a theoretical concept that we worship rather than maintaining a relationship with the living Christ.
In Food in God’s Place, (Currently out of publication) Anna learns that the best question is, ‘Jesus what do I do?’
Anna began to make a list in her head: pray more, remember to ask more…
“Anna, said Jesus.”
“Stop it. Talk to me. A list of rules is not transformational. Look to me. Talk to me. Walk with me. Don’t ask what I would do; ask ‘Jesus what do I do?’”
She learns that ‘Jesus what do I do?’ is a way of reminding herself that Jesus is always present to help her. She learns that asking ‘What would Jesus do’ can still keep him at a distance, and he can remain a concept instead of a real relationship.
“Don’t worry about that. I will help you. Do you see how things can go when we go through the day side by side, connected in conversation?”
“Yes, it was great. I didn’t ask myself, What would Jesus do?’ I asked, ‘Jesus what do I do?’ In doing this, you led me to answers and showed me how I could please you. I learned that when I ask, “What would Jesus do?” analysis and conceptualizing result, and I sometimes miss a chance to do something good. The answer received is better when I ask you the question directly. And my relationship with you became more real and not so hypothetical.”
More than a Concept
Jesus laughed. “Yes, I’m a lot more than a concept.”
“Yes, you are real. I could ask what would Socrates do or Plato, but I cannot ask them and get an answer. In talking to you, I can get an answer. Jesus forgive me for the times that I’ve made you into a concept or my personal God and tried to manipulate you to my purposes or cover my presumptions. I’m sorry.”
“Already forgiven. It is to your benefit that you now see the value of us working side by side, holding hands, talking things over as they happen. Please continue to have regular times that we talk, just remember you can talk with me anytime, not just during formal prayer times.”
Asking WWJD?’ is not praying. It is posing a hypothetical question. It is a question that anyone could ask whether they believe in Jesus or not. Although asking the question has some value in ethical reflection, it removes the power of having a relationship with God. It is the relationship with God that makes transformation possible. Asking what do I do?, reminds you that you can call on him anytime, anywhere, that the relationship is real. God is interested in relationship not religion. ‘WWJD’ makes you religious. ‘What do I do,’ reminds you of relationship.
A Constant Companion
Learn to walk and talk with Jesus as your constant companion, to instantly go to him in prayer.
Start today, instead of WWJD? Ask Jesus directly, ‘What do I do?’ He is not an icon, a statue, or image. He is real and desires to have a relationship with you.
If this has helped you, share it with a friend.
Further readings can be found in In Whom Do I Trust?
Also Oswald Chambers provides excellent reminders to get us to the heart of this question daily. Daily readings can be found at Utmost.org.