Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children
Ephesians 5:1 NIV
Do you know Janie Tinklenberg?
She was a Christian youth group leader from Holland, MI, in the 1990s. Her concern for her group members led her to create fun bracelets for them to wear bearing the letters WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?).
Long before Face Book or Instagram, her idea “went viral” as the slogan began to appear everywhere including gummy bracelets, tee shirts, posters, etc., challenging Christians, young and old, all over the world to ask themselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” before acting in whatever circumstance they found themselves.
Not only is it a great reminder about how to treat others, it also challenges us to consider how we will react to the trials of life in which we find ourselves. Think about what’s going on in your life today. If you’re going through a difficult time, WWJD if he were in your shoes?
Our first reaction might be to think, Jesus wouldn’t be going through this same kind of trial. He would immediately heal or fix it because He’s God! However, the Bible tells us he did go through trials. He was personally acquainted with grief and suffering here on this earth. We can trust him to be a divine role model as we go through our own times of pain and suffering in this life.
Check it out!
1. After 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, he was famished and bone-weary. Yet that’s the time he went through his greatest temptation.He never once felt sorry for himself or gave in to Satan’s suggestions that he turn his back on God to receive instant relief or gratification from his physical ordeal. (Matthew 4)
2. Jesus was honest in his feelings with his heavenly Father. When he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he knew what was coming - pain, torture, and ultimately death. He poured out his heart to his Father, even to the point of asking if he really had to endure it all. But he ultimately chose to rest in his Father’s will in spite of the pain and suffering it would bring him. (Matthew 26:36-46)
3. On the cross, Jesus didn’t lash out at those around him because he was in pain, even though he had all the power of God at his disposal to kill his enemies on the spot. Instead he chose to forgive them! (Luke 23:26-43)
4. He brought beauty out of the ashes of the very worst situation of his life when He died and rose again on the third day. (Luke 24) His death and resurrection gave us life!
Rather than allowing our own pain to keep us down, we can choose to allow the power of God to work in us, to enable us to rise above the difficult situations where we find ourselves. We can pour out our true feelings to the One who also suffered in this life and we can choose to allow him to comfort and work in us. We can make the choice to love and forgive instead of lashing out against those who hurt us. In addition to helping us rise out of our own painful circumstances, God CAN and DOES use those situations to help others.
The lessons we learn and the wisdom we gain from our experiences goes a long way toward being able to minister with love and empathy to others on life’s road.
Think about what you're going through today - how will you answer the big WWJD question?