In 1988, inspired by the central theme in Charles Sheldon’s classic Christian novel “In His Steps”, Dan Seaborn, the youth pastor at Central Wesleyan Church in Holland, Michigan, designed bracelets for his youth group promoting the question proposed often in the Sheldon novel; What Would Jesus Do? Seaborn abbreviated it to just four letters, WWJD?
I know as a youth pastor myself in those days I wore a WWJD? bracelet and passed out dozens of them to the teens I was serving. Keeping the question of what would Jesus do constantly before me made for a great challenge and an ongoing personal accountability to the role modeled by Christ Jesus . Even today when faced with circumstances, challenges, or temptations I still ask myself the question Charles Sheldon posed in his book way back in 1897, What would Jesus do?
Today however I got to thinking about a different question that would require a new bracelet with an added initial, WWJND? What Would Jesus Not Do?
In the New Testament Gospels, we can read about all the wonderful things that Jesus did do in the three years of public ministry. Jesus loved unconditionally, he forgave willingly, he lived a life of prayer, he was compassionate towards the poor, and the dispossessed while embodying richly each fruit of the Spirit. Not only did he live his life practicing these qualities, but Jesus also taught these principles to his followers as a guide to how to live their lives. We know what Jesus did, but do we know what Jesus would not do?
Along with being fully God, Jesus was also fully human and experienced all of the temptations that we are enticed by. The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way we are tempted, but he did not sin.
As church leaders we have been given the awesome privilege and responsibility to lead and influence the people God has put in our circles. We face the same trials, temptations, and traps that all leaders have previously faced along with problems of declining attendance, shrinking financial resources and diminished commitment from our membership. In times like these it is easy to become stressed, downhearted and as a result, vulnerable to physical, emotional, and spiritual attack.
These temptations of the pursuit of sexual passions, financial possessions, and social position have always been with us and are potentially devastating to your person, family, and church. Let’s focus on Jesus and of some things that he didn’t do.
These are identified in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (KJV).
Look at what the Apostle John said about, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, three things we are all tempted with, but that Jesus would never do.
These three things, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, are what Satan used before the fall in the Garden of Eden and later in the wilderness just as Jesus was about to begin his public ministry.
Be aware the devil’s scheme which succeeded with Eve and Adam. Instead, follow the pattern that Jesus used when he resisted the temptation of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life in the wilderness. Next week in part two, I will remind you of “What Jesus Did,” to resist temptation and “What Jesus Would Never Do.”