Inspire, Winter 1999

A News Publication for Cedarville College Alumni * ' 1 111111Nd? br Chris Miller, Ph.D. Professor of Bible -11HV WJD has invaded popular culture. Bracelets and buttons quietly proclaim the message wherever we look. The reminder"What Would Jesus Do?" challenges all who will read it to transform their own actions until they conform to those of Jesus. This challenge is solidly based in the New Testament teaching that one of the reasons for Jesus'life on earth was to provide a positive model for human thinking and speaking and doing (1 John 2:6). The tragedy today, however,is that Christians do not always find their identity by what they do as much as by what they do not do. Our concept of holy living is sometimes defined in negative terms of avoiding sin and even sinful people. At work or school we are known for activities which we will not do and for which people we might avoid. We live as though the question to be answered is,"What would Jesus not do?"The tired phrase"We don't smoke and we don't chew and we don't go with those that do"is a poor description of those who would be like Jesus, simply because it so poorly describes Jesus. I am not suggesting that Christians today should "smoke"or "chew,' but the New Testament declares that Jesus was a friend of"those that do." Jesus spoke one of His most beloved stories about a prodigal and his father and brother in direct response to the charge that He"welcomed sinners and ate with them"(Luke 15:2). Even though the religious establishment was content to be out of touch with the sinners of its day,Jesus offered an alternative attitude. He consciously opened Himself up to charges of being a "glutton" and a "drunkard"(Matthew 11:19)because He did not live life on the defensive. Preserving His reputation as separate from sin was not the focus of His life or ministry. He so loved life and people that He deeply involved Himself in their affairs and problems. Jesus placed Himself squarely in the midst of unbelievers because He did not regard them as the enemy but as His Father's lost sheep. Jesus saw life as a battle between two kingdoms which could only be won by offensive rather than defensive action. In simple terms,Jesus took the battle to the enemy.He actively preached and healed and loved throughout His short life. He continually amazed the populace and the leadership because He compassionately moved in circles where the"good" people of His day would not go. WWJD is a wonderful call to action for all who would live like Jesus. Do not bury your single talent, risking nothing and gaining nothing. God calls His children to actively invest their lives in searching for His lost sheep. The activity will be risky and the searcher is sure to face opposition and trouble from the enemy,but it is exactly what Jesus would do.