What Would Jesus Do?
by Paul Hazelden


According to some people, the most important question you can ever ask is: what would Jesus do in this situation? This is presented as the definitive means of determining the correct ethical choice, and the most reliable way to establish God's will for your life. Whole books have been written, presenting this question as one which will transform your life. You can get badges and wrist bands that say "WWJD?"

While I am not completely against asking this question - there are many worse ways of seeking guidance, and sometimes it may well be the best - I am very concerned that a simplistic reliance on this one question may end up causing more harm than good.

The problems

What would Jesus do? There are a number of problems with this question.

In conclusion, this question points us towards a completely impractical way of living - not because following Jesus is impractical, but because God calls me to exercise my ministry where I am, He does not call me to duplicate Jesus' ministry.

The alternatives

So is this one question is not the whole answer, what are the alternatives? There are many. If you insist on an abstract intellectual question, there are several you might try:

For myself, I perfer a more personal approach. Something more like "Dear Father, please show me what to do now" or "Dear Father, please show me how to glorify You in this situation" or "Dear Father, please show me which of all the valid and good options before me is the one you would like me to take here and now.", or even, more simply, "Dear Father, please show me how to love you more."

But it is probably helpful to remember that all this is, or can be, no more than shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. Prayer for guidance, judgement and discernment is needed before the decision is placed in front of us. We need to spend time getting to know Jesus in the calm and the quiet, so that when the storm hits, we know He is there with us in the boat. When the crisis hits, we don't always have time for measured reflection.

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Copyright © 1999 Paul Hazelden
http://hazelden.org.uk/pt03/art_pt110_what_would_jesus_do.htm was last updated 6 October 2007
Page content last modified: 14 October 1999
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