“What would Jesus do?”
It’s the question that faithful followers ask of themselves regularly. It’s important, it’s earnest, but it’s missing a piece. The full question should be, “What would Jesus do if he were living my life right now?”
That might sound heretical before an explanation, but it’s a subtle shift that helps us distinguish the acts of Jesus from the way of Jesus. The acts of Jesus were miraculous and often very distinct to his life on earth and the culture he found himself in. The ways of Jesus are transcendent, and applicable no matter your culture, class, ethnicity, or age.
John Mark Comer explains this shift in “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry,” stating:
Again: What does it mean to follow Jesus…? It’s very simple. It means you live the way Jesus lived. You take his life and teachings as your template, your model, your pattern. This means the central question of our apprenticeship to Jesus is pretty straightforward: How would Jesus live if he were me?
Jesus wasn’t a dad; I am. I imagine if he were a dad to Jude, Moses, and Sunday, he would spend a lot of time with them. So I do that as an act of my apprenticeship to Jesus, who never had kids. Say you’re a new wife or mother. Jesus was neither, but your driving question is, How would he do this? Or you’re working on high-rise condo development. How would Jesus design this community?
“What would Jesus do?” is an important question, and a great starting place. But “What would Jesus do if he were living my life right now?” gives us even more depth.
What would your life look like if you applied the ways of Jesus?
If you loved people like he did, where you are, right now?
If you mimicked his patterns of prayer and withdrawal in whatever way you can?
If you rejoiced as he did?
If you listened as he did?
If you loved God’s Word as he did?
Looking at Jesus’ life is important, but we’re not just observers – we’re followers! Apprentices! This requires action and calls us into rhythms and patterns that are not our own, but his.
So, as I ask myself this question today, I will ask you: What would Jesus do if he were living your life right now?