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29 October 2007

I'll Come Up With My Own Answer, Thankyouverymuch.

What would Jesus do? (Obligatory tip of the hat to the 1896 book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon, to which I was introduced thanks to a 1970's comic book adaptation...) Forgive me if I'm beating a hundred-plus-year-old question to death. It's honestly been pointed out so much that its presentation is almost yawn-inducing to some of us who've grown up in the church.

But do you really want to know the answer to the question? I mean, really want to know? I would say that this question is one of the most significant ones that a sincere Christ-follower should ask himself or herself in any given situation. And you know, we're kinda obligated to ask ourselves that question. "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus..." (Colossians 3:17, NLT)

As our walk with Christ grows deeper, the answer in most situations should begin to become second-nature. However, once it begins to become second-nature, there's a great danger that we will stop asking the question, typically because we assume we'll already know the answer. What's dangerous is when we stop asking this question because we feel we've arrived at some plain of spiritual enlightenment where we can "coast," or because we actually don't want to know the answer.

Would Jesus participate in a given ministry area in my church? (Would He sing in the choir? Would He work at the Pumpkin Patch?) Would Jesus drive a nice car? Would Jesus fight in Iraq? Would Jesus worship at my church? Would Jesus go to a bar? Would Jesus have a current hairstyle? A gotee? Would Jesus have to wear cheap tennis shoes to church because that'd be all He could afford, having given most of his clothes and money to the poor?

Some of us will immediately qualify the answers to those kinds of questions with something like, "Well, we live in a different culture..." or, "Yes, but..." But I think we can ask those questions and, more often than not, arrive at a direct, Scripturally-based, black-and-white answer.

I'm afraid that we long-time church folks (myself included) have so established our theology that we somehow morph it to include our own personal predilections.

So what's your show-stopper question? Is there any situation where this question can't realistically be asked?

And while I'm at it, I should note that when we ask ourselves this question, it's typically, and unfortunately, in a reactionary way rather than a proactive one. That's an area I intend to work on.


Tony M said...

How about, "Would Jesus be watching Heroes on Monday night?" Wait... you're right... maybe I don't ask the questions often enough. However, Jesus said all the law and prophecies are basically summed up in the two commandments: love your God (with all you are and have) and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). Most every answer to the question "would Jesus...?" is found when we live according to the "two simple, but difficult, commandments."

Yeah, I'm still working on them myself, of course...

Chuck said...

Good question. Glad you also credited the book In His Steps. I have been presenting that story as a one-man drama for over 33 years. Check it out at



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