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Many remember the WWJD craze well. We bought the bracelets, and handed them out at youth events. We hash tagged WWJD before hashtags were a thing. We challenged each other in devotionals and around late-night fire pits. What would Jesus do? If Jesus were in your shoes: what would Jesus do? If Jesus was in the back of a parked car with the person he was dating: what would Jesus do? If Jesus had the chance to copy on a test, or cheat on his taxes: what would Jesus do? If Jesus had a hamburger that he had just bought at McDonald’s and saw someone sitting outside hungry: what would Jesus do? With these, and other admonitions, we challenged each other to live everyday for God. We were on fire, and we were finding ways to live it out.  And we were encouraging others to as well by always reminding them; WWJD.

We may laugh about the craze now, but good did come from the movement. In hindsight, we may not have always made the best applications, and we definitely let the movement become too commercialized, but it was a powerful reminder of what is most important. To think for a moment, what would Jesus do if Jesus were in our situation. What would Jesus do in dating situations? Not just, how far is too far, or how does one remain pure. But instead, how do I act toward another with whom I have romantic feelings for, but we aren’t married yet? It should focus on how do I honor the one with whom I am holding hands? How do I treat this other that I deeply admire and even love in a way that acknowledges they are made in the image of God? Or perhaps more personal, how would Jesus fill out tax forms? Some tax laws and reporting stipulations seem preposterous? Would Jesus claim cash payments such as babysitting even though it will never be caught? Should I change my numbers slightly, even by just $5 or $10 to get under (or over) a specific income level?

These questions seem so insignificant, yet they get to the root of who we are as people; who we are as disciples. Obviously, we can go to extremes and develop legalistic systems (something none of us want to do), yet, at times we need to be challenged to take faith, and our daily walk, more seriously. We want to try and image Christ in all moments of life. We want to image Christ in both his love and compassion, as well as his righteousness and justice.

While we’ve left WWJD behind (and for good reasons), we should still take seriously the desire to get reaquainted with Jesus in order to come to understand better this man we call Messiah, Savior, and Friend. Who is this God come to earth? What did he do? How did he respond? Could we get to know Jesus enough to understand his thought process and what was most important to him so that we could then live that out in our time and place? Could we get to know Jesus enough that we could take the principles that we had learned and reorient them to the 21st Century, to our present world that is vastly different from the 1st century, and learn the principles to faithfully live in this culture? That may be difficult, but that’s a valid undertaking.

Which provides us with an interesting situation. I wonder, what would happen if we spent the next year (all of 2018) trying to immerse ourselves in Jesus? What if we spent a year getting to know, as best we can, the God who became flesh? Not that we start wearing WWJD bracelets again, but that we spent our year focused on getting to know Jesus better. Obviously, there are many important and worthy items for study. All of scripture is God breathed and is useful. I particularly enjoy being challenged by the prophets, falling in love with God through the Psalms, and even coming to understand the grace of God through the Law (yes, Leviticus is about grace, but that’s another post all together). But sometimes those other studies get in the way of immersing ourselves in Jesus. Yet I wonder, how would our lives be changed if we spent the year trying to Know Jesus? What type of growth would take place in our communities, in our churches, and most especially, in ourselves?

I’m not about to start wearing WWJD bracelets again. But I am going to focus on Knowing Jesus as best I can. Hopefully, it will be a blessing.