Do you remember when Christians used to wear the letters W.W.J.D. on bracelets and t-shirts? This was a popular phrase among Christians back in the 1990s when it was like a personal motto to always be thinking “What would Jesus do?”
The prevailing thought was it was a great tool to get yourself to behave more in line with your beliefs. The logic was that if you just thought about what Jesus would do in every situation, you’d be able to better execute what Jesus would do in every situation.
If someone made you really mad, you could just look at your bracelet. The chances that you’d make the same decision Jesus would make would increase. This was because you were reminded of what Jesus would do and then you could do it. Or so the thinking goes.
It’s not wrong or unhealthy to ask this question. The problem comes not with the asking of the question, but with assuming two things. First, that you actually know what Jesus would do in any given situation. Second, that you actually have the ability to do what Jesus would do in that situation.
If you stepped up to a golf tee and asked yourself “What would Tiger Woods do?,” would that make you all of a sudden knowledgeable of how he would swing? And if you did know, would it make you actually physically able to do it?
The key is not asking yourself what Jesus would do. The key is possessing something that gives you the knowledge and ability to do it.
The kind of life that overcomes
If you’re a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, you have within you a different kind of life than what’s in the world. It’s the life of God. It’s the kind that overcame the world. The only kind of life that can do that is divine life.
But you still have a choice. You don’t have to live by that life. As is the case with humans throughout the whole biblical story, you can attempt to live in the world by the efforts of your natural human life.
But when the world comes to take you down (and it will), that kind of life doesn’t have the qualities within it that overcame.
The life of God does. The reason Jesus didn’t fall to the worldly pressures put on Him when he was in His first body is because He chose not to live by his natural human life, but by the kind of life the Father gave Him.
When offered the whole world, He could turn it down. When disowned by his best friends, He could still carry on His mission. When staring in the face of His own execution, He could still forgive those with the hammer and nails in their hands.
We also see His followers that came after Him eventually doing these same kinds of things.
Possession by the Spirit
The world constantly applies pressure on you to be involved with it by thinking and behaving according to its standards. The only thing that will keep you from succumbing to this is choosing to live by the kind of life that Christ lived by.
It won’t happen by asking yourself W.W.J.D. and then attempting to carry it out by the power of human life.
The more intense the pressure, the more transformed you have to have been by the life of Christ that indwells you.
Here’s how Watchman Nee put it in the book Love Not The World…
If our life is the life of men, we are swayed by the world. If it is the life of the Spirit, it is unmoved by worldly pressures.
How much of a threat the world is to you is proportional to how much of your soul the Spirit possesses. Because they’re like oil and water, the life of the Spirit is a buffer against the world. They don’t mix.
Intruding on the world
This is why the biblical story doesn’t suggest avoiding the world. Some people that become Jesus followers are taught that because they’ve been saved from the world that they now should distance themselves from it.
But this isn’t the testimony of Christ or His first followers.
Instead, their mission was to start little colonies of new kinds of humans right in the midst of it.
You’re not saved by Christ to forget about the world. You’re saved from the world to intrude on its agenda by self-sacrificial Love for God and others (the expression of divine life).
You’re not to leave it behind. You’re to create more colonies of heaven that will take back territory for the world’s true King.
A lamp on a lampstand
You’ve been made to be a part of providing a contrast – a light shining in darkness to reveal what’s truly there. This is why Jesus talked a lot about light and said “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)
When you live like the new human you are, you radiate God’s Life, which is light to the darkness. Nee goes on to say…
For us to be in the world, yet with all our hopes, all our interests and all our prospects out of the world, that is Satan’s defeat and God’s glory.
There are two things that the enemy would prefer that you do…
- Be involved in the world
- Completely ignore the world
New humans are in the world, but not involved in the world. They interact with the world, but operate apart from and completely different than the world.
Because of who you’ve been born again to be, you are a lamp on a lampstand. As the light of Christ possesses more of you, you radiate more.
This is the fifth post in the Enemy Blueprints series. Go here to read the rest of the posts in the series.