Almost everyone has heard the phrase “What Would Jesus Do” regardless of whether they’re a believer or not. This particular phrase became popular in the 1990’s, especially among Christian youth groups, and was intended as a reminder to all believers to behave as Jesus would when interacting with others. It wasn’t long before the initials WWJD were everywhere — on bracelets, T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.
And although the “What Would Jesus Do” craze has died down in recent years, its message is just as important today as it was back then. Believers should still be adopting the same attitude and characteristics of Jesus. Why? Because scripture tells us to.
Listen to what the apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:5: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ” (NIV). Sounds easy, right? After all, scripture is filled with Jesus demonstrating selflessness and thoughtfulness to others, and if we desire to have the same attitude as him, then all we need to do is to be unselfish and thoughtful of others too.
So if we know what to do, then why is it so hard? Why is it a constant struggle? Some might place blame on our sinful nature or maybe even Satan. Others might say it’s because we fail to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit.
But our struggle really boils down to one thing: we lack humility.
Listen as Paul continues describing Jesus in Philippians 2:6-8: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance of a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even on a cross!” (NIV).
So Paul tells us to have the same attitude as Jesus, and then goes on to describe the kind of attitude Jesus had: an attitude of humility. But Paul doesn’t just say Jesus was humble and then move on to something else. He tells us exactly how Jesus demonstrated his humility.
He starts by explaining how Jesus is not inferior to God but is equal to God the Father in every way. And although Jesus was fully God, he didn’t take advantage of his equality with God and instead gave up all of his personal rights (Philippians 2:6).
How did Jesus do this? By leaving the glory of heaven and taking the form of a man. Not only did he take on human form, but Paul tells us he also took on human nature. And if that weren’t enough, he also came as a servant — the lowest position a person could have in the Roman world — and practiced self-denial and self-sacrifice, all for the good of others (Philippians 2:7).
Next, Paul says Jesus offered himself up as a sacrifice for sin. No one took his life, he gave it willingly, and suffered a painful and humiliating death on the cross (Philippians 2:8).
So these verses tell us (1) exactly who Jesus is, (2) the kind of attitude Jesus has towards mankind, and (3) the staggering price Jesus paid for us all. And this was all made possible because of Jesus’ humility.
All along there’s only been one answer to the question “What Would Jesus Do” and the answer is: he’d humble himself. And if we want to be anything like him, we’d do the same — we’d do away with our prideful hearts and replace them with hearts of humility. That means we’d continually serve others regardless of our own personal cost.
So why not make the decision to imitate Christ this week and purposefully put someone else’s best interest ahead of your own? Maybe if we all think and act like Jesus this week, we could really make a difference in our own little part of the world. Better yet, our actions just might help lead someone to Jesus and eternal life.
And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.