Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Would Jordan Do?
Reflections on personal discipline...

A while ago it was vogue in Christian circles to ask WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?  But it got a little over-hyped and largely under-practiced (which often happens) and has since received its fair share of criticism.
While I agree that asking WWJD is biblical – Jesus, after all, told his followers to follow him – I think it has inherent problems.  The main one is this: we can’t do what Jesus did just by asking that question.  For even if we think we know what Jesus would do the reality is that we often don’t have the spiritual reserves to follow through.

By itself asking WWJD is just as unreasonable as asking “What Would JORDAN Do? 
I enjoy basketball and always held Jordan’s abilities in high esteem…but I’d never ask that kind of question.  Why?  Because even if I knew the answer, I still wouldn’t be able to do what Jordan did!  I can’t jump like him, shoot like him, or stick out my tongue like him.
And here’s the key point: Unless I practiced the way Jordan did in private, I’d never be able to do what he did in public.   It’s not enough to know what he’d do in a given situation – I must have the strength and ability to do it as well.

The same is very true in our Christian walk.  We’ll never do what Jesus did in public until we learn to do what he did in private.  Unfortunately, a lot of us wear the Jesus-jersey, skip out of practice, then wonder why we’re so lousy when it comes to game time!
Jesus’ life of prayer, sensitivity to the Spirit and obedience to the Father laid the foundation for his amazing ministry.  He knew Scripture inside out and walked in intimacy with the Father.  Doing what Jesus did without his focus and prayer life is like me getting up off the couch and doing a 360 slam dunk from the free throw line.  Ain’t likely that’ll happen!

Dallas Willard puts it this way: "As Jesus’ disciple..I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I.”

So this is a call back to the basics – a call to do things that Jesus did and that his early followers put into practice.  If we want to see even the beginnings of a Jesus-kind-of-life we’ll need to get back to the core practices of fasting and prayer, simplicity of life, memorizing Scripture, self denial and intimacy with God.  Once we begin to do these things not only will we be able to discern what Jesus would do, we would – by His grace – have the power to be able to imitate him as well.  So while it wouldn’t fit a lot of bracelets or make a lot of sales, I would suggest this question is much more appropriate: “What Did Jesus Do in order to Do What He Did? 

I’m never going to be Michael Jordan, but it’s my prayer that each day you and I will grow to be more like Christ!

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