Several years back, a phrase from Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps became part of popular Christian culture through the acronym WWJD?. It appeared on wristbands, bumper stickers and a host of novelties and trinkets and in the crush of popularity, a few people actually bought and read the book.
Facing everyday challenges with the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ is a great idea, but I wonder if it’s too focused on doing; in other words, I’m concerned that it only measures action.
I’ve written much here about temptation here with respect to our thought life. For myself, a person who doesn’t commit great transgressions of moral or spiritual law, a better question might be WWJT? or What Would Jesus Think? In a review of David Murray’s The Happy Christian, I noted the following chapter outline based on Phil. 4:8
- True, Not False:”Whatever things are true”
- Noble, Not Base: “Whatever things are noble”
- Right, Not Wrong: “Whatever things are just”
- Purity, Not Filth: “Whatever things are pure”
- Beautiful, Not Ugly: “Whatever things are lovely”
- Praise, Not Complaint: “Whatever things are of good report”
- More Salvation Than Sin
- More Truth Than Falsehood
- More Wooing Than Warning
- More Victory Than Struggle
- More Celebration Than Lamentation
- More Life Than Death
- More Strengths Than Weaknesses
In another article, I looked at how an unhealthy thought life might manifest itself:
In your conversation: We all have heard the Biblical principle that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Even the most guarded, careful, filtered person will let something slip that betrays where their heart is wandering. Or they may lose interest in topics that would normally engage them.
Stresses: For the Christian, having made poor choices in the area of inputs and influences will result in an inner conflict that may come to the surface in being short or snappy with the people we love or people we’re close to. The inner turmoil may simply result from a feeling of personal failure.
Distractions: A mind focused on things below instead of things above will inevitably be un-ordered, resulting in forgetting to return a phone call, missing a payment deadline, forgetting the directions to an appointment. Time allocation to responsibilities may slip noticeably.
Acting Out: Experts say that people dealing with online addictions often end up taking some action as a result of the content they have been viewing, but we tend to think of that as more overt. In fact, acting out often takes places in subtle ways that are more tangential to the addiction than direct. It’s possible that only the person themselves knows that the behavior trigger.
Reticence: Other people whose mind is otherwise preoccupied will simply become withdrawn. An unhealthy mind condition will manifest itself similar to worry and anxiety. For the Christian who senses that they are moving away from The Cross instead of moving toward The Cross, they may opt to retreat from their fellowship group or simply be less animated than is typical.
In yet another article with a similar title, I shared an often-repeated illustration:
There is a old Indian chief telling a story about how each of us have two rival dogs, a good dog and a bad dog. Both are always fighting each other. Sometimes it seems like the good dog is winning other times it appears like the bad dog is winning.
One of the tribal members asks, “So, how do you know which one will win?”
To which the chief replies, “It depends which dog you feed.”
Let me say in reiterating these three passages that I do not claim to have constant victory in this area. I need to be writing this every bit as much as I hope you need to be reading it…
…What got me started on this was the realization that, in a blog post that has been repeated here every year for the past four years, I arrive at the phrase,
You have this moment.
But if I go beyond that, I have to ask, “What would a day lived entirely separated to God look like?” Or, “What if I were to get through a day with no regrets, nothing that I wished I had done differently?” (I realize that, in saying this, I am perhaps simply arriving at the phrase often associated with the AA movement, ‘One Day at a Time.’)
So I remind myself and ask you to remind yourselves
You have this moment.
You have this hour.
You have this morning/afternoon/evening.
You have this day.
What we do with our hands is important, but where we go with our thought lives is also something that should be a major consideration. WWJT? What would Jesus think?
The Voice Luke 11: 34 Listen, your eye, your outlook, the way you see is your lamp. If your way of seeing is functioning well, then your whole life will be enlightened. But if your way of seeing is darkened, then your life will be a dark, dark place. 35 So be careful, people, because your light may be malfunctioning. 36 If your outlook is good, then your whole life will be bright, with no shadowy corners, as when a radiant lamp brightens your home.
NLT Phil 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.