WOULD JESUS DO?
Steps of Jesus?
Most people in our society eagerly learn about the views
and lifestyles of television personalities, movie stars,
sports figures, musical artists, and other celebrities. They
want to know about them and be like them. They may want to
dress like them, drive the kind of car they drive, use the
brand of toothpaste they use, wear the hairstyle they wear,
and adopt the social and political views they have. Whether
consciously or unconsciously, they imitate those
whom they admire and to whom they are devoted.
The Christian is unconcerned about following these personalities
of the world but he is vitally concerned about following
the Lord Jesus Christ whom he serves. Since Christ has died
for the believer, has rescued him from sin and hell, and
now has authority in heaven and on earth, the believer seeks
to walk in His steps and do His will. To this extent, there
is value in asking, "What would Jesus do?"
What is your perspective? Are you interesting in following
those whom the world admires and elevatesor are you
determined to follow the Lord and Savior who loves you and
wants you to be with Him forever? We cannot have it both
ways! It is one or the other. What is your own purpose
in life? Do you want to know how Jesus lived while on earth
and how He would live today if He were on earth? We challenge
you to read this booklet to answer the profound question, "What
would Jesus do?"
Would Jesus Do?
It is a question that is increasingly asked in our day.
It is asked on shirts, wristbands, headbands, backpacks,
and on other items: "What would Jesus do?" We may
recall the volume written by Charles Sheldon in 1897, In
His Steps. The fictional book,
which has sold over 15 million copies, told the story of
people who attempted to ask, "What would Jesus do?," before
they made any decisions in life. Years later, a sequel to
the original book appeared, with the relevant title, What
Would Jesus Do?
a Good Question!
The question is a good one and it is supported by Scripture.
Peter writes, "Christ also suffered for you, leaving
you an example for you to follow in His steps" (1
Peter 2:21). We should aspire to follow in the steps of Jesus!
Paul wrote, "You also became imitators of
us and of the Lord" (1 Thess. 1:6a; cf. 1 Cor. 11:1).
We must "imitate" the Lord Jesus and His perfect
life. John the apostle also wrote, "The one who says
he abides in Him ought Himself to walk in the
same manner as He walked" (1
John 2:6). We must "walk" or live just as Jesus
lived! Thus, it is true that we are to "walk in Jesus steps" and
ask, "What would Jesus do?"
If we are going to carry out this worthy desire, we must
know how Jesus walked. We must have some clear understanding
of how He lived from day to day during His earthly life.
How can we discover this from the Word of God?
Did Jesus Live?
First, Jesus lived to please God. He
was able to say, "I always do the things that are pleasing
to Him" (John 8:29). Paul adds that "even Christ
did not please Himself"(Rom. 15:3a). Jesus pleased God
His Father rather than Himself. In fact, God acknowledged, "This
is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased"(Matt.
17:5). We also are to please God and Christ. We are to "learn
what is pleasing to the Lord" (Eph. 5:10). We are to "have
as our ambition . . . to be pleasing to Him" (2 Cor.
5:9; cf. Col. 1:10).
If we are seriously committed to walking in Jesus steps
and asking, "What would Jesus do?," we must determine
to please God in all that we think, say, and do. We must
be willing to say No to ourselves and Yes to God in all things.
We must be willing to please God even if it means denying
ourselves, our wishes, our interests, and our pleasures (Mark
8:34; 2 Cor. 5:14-15).
Second, Jesus lived to obey God. Christ Jesus
knew that He could not please God unless He obeyed Him. This
was Jesus earnest purpose in life. He plainly declared, "I
do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John
5:30). This was the motivation for His coming to the earth: "I
have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the
will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). In doing the will
of God, Jesus obeyed all of the Fathers commands: "If
you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just
as I have kept my Fathers commandments, and abide in
His love" (John 15:10; cf. 14:31).
If we want to walk in Jesus steps and know what He
would do, we also must obey God. We must keep His commands
and do His will rather than our will. Are you and I sincerely
committed to living in total obedience to the will of God?
Only the one who does the will of God will enter the kingdom
of heaven (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 10:36). "The one who does
the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:17).
Third, Jesus lived to do the work of God. Most
of us are consumed with our own agendas, plans, purposes,
and dreams. Jesus kept the work of God clearly before Him.
He affirmed, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent
Me, and to accomplish His work" (John 4:34; cf. 10:37-38).
He said, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me
as long as it is day" (John 9:4). Throughout His life,
Jesus made the work of God His priority. At the end of His
life, He was able to say that He had accomplished the work
which God had given Him to do (John 17:4).
Although Jesus had a special work of dying for our sins,
we too have a work to do for God in life. Paul emphasizes
this: "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain
in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). Each of us must work for
God in our daily life.
Are we consumed with the earthly affairs of life and the
distractions of the world so that we lose sight of Gods
work (Mark 4:18-19; Luke 21:34)? Do we assume that we have
been placed here to have fun, to enjoy ourselves, and to
seek passing pleasures (Heb. 10:25)? No, we have been placed
on earth to carry out the work of Godserving Him, blessing
the lives of others, and bringing others to Him.
Fourth, Jesus lived with the knowledge that He would
go to be with God. He
had a heavenly focus. Instead of thinking of preserving
His earthly life, Jesus constantly focused on His heavenly
home and His heavenly destiny. He said, "I am leaving
the world again, and going to the Father" (John
16:28; cf. 13:3; 16:10; 14:2-3). He declared, "I
am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the
One who sent Me" (John 7:33). Those who follow in
Jesus steps will have the same perspective. Paul
makes this heavenly focus clear: "If you have been
raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set
your mind on the things above, not on the things that
are on earth" (Col. 3:1-2).
Are you and I so consumed with everyday affairs that we
lose our heavenly focus? Do we set our minds on "earthly
things" (Phil. 3:19) or on "heavenly things"?
Do we think about pleasures on earth or pleasures in heaven?
Do we lay up treasures on earth or treasures in heaven (Matt.
6:19-21)? Do we think about and talk about things of the
world or things of God? Do we love the world or love God
in heaven (1 John 2:15-17)?
Finally, Jesus lived for the glory of God. In
all that He thought, said, and did, Jesus wanted the Father
to be glorified (John 7:18; 13:31; 14:13; 17:1). At the end
of His life, He prayed to the Father, "I glorified You
on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have
given Me to do" (John 17:4). Just as the Lord Jesus
glorified God, we too must bring Him glory. Paul says, "Glorify
God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:20). How much should we
glorify God? Paul answers, "Whether, then, you eat or
drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1
Cor. 10:31). Peter also says that "in all things God
may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 4:11;
cf. Romans 11:36; Eph. 3:21).
Generally, we seek our own glory (John 7:18) or seek glory
from others (John 5:44) rather than seeking only the glory
of God through Jesus Christ. We are self-oriented rather
than God-oriented. We are self-focused rather than God-focused.
We are too consumed with our needs, our wants, and our pleasures
rather than longing to bring honor, praise, and glory to
our blessed God.
Yes, Jesus lived to please God, to obey God, to do the work
of God, to return to God, and to glorify God. How did He
carry out these perspectives?
Did Jesus Do?
As we read through the Gospels and the remainder of the
New Testament, we learn much about what Jesus did. Notice
the following elements of His life (and look up the Scripture
- Jesus went about doing good (Acts 10:38).
- Jesus was filled with compassion (Matt. 9:36).
- Jesus wept with those who wept (John 11:33-36).
- Jesus denied Himself of food when needed (Mark
- Jesus denied Himself of sleep when needed (Luke
- Jesus knew how to hold down a job (Mark 6:3).
- Jesus continually prayed to the Father (Mark
- Jesus knew the Scriptures well (Matt. 4:4,7,10).
- Jesus came to serve God and others (Matt. 20:28).
- Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death
- Jesus healed the sick (Matt. 4:23-24).
- Jesus taught in the synagogue (Matt. 4:24).
- Jesus taught the multitudes (Matt. 12:46).
- Jesus proclaimed the gospel (Matt. 9:35).
- Jesus blessed repentant sinners (Luke 7:37-50).
- Jesus counseled the religious (John 3:1-15).
- Jesus counseled the sinners (John 4:3-26).
- Jesus helped people reach highest priorities
- Jesus had fellowship with His disciples (Mark
- Jesus treated women with great respect (Luke
- Jesus was concerned with peoples needs
- Jesus boldly confronted hypocrites (Matt. 22:18).
- Jesus sometimes spent time alone with God (Matt.
- Jesus knew when to speak (John 18:33-38).
- Jesus knew when to be silent (John 19:8-9).
Scriptures such as these (there are many more) give us an
insight into Jesus character and lifestyle. While we
may not be able to follow Him in every aspect (since He was
the very Son of God), yet we may imitate Him in many of these
Can We Personally Apply This?
We have discovered Jesus perspective on life and how
He lived. If we are going to walk in His steps, we must seek
to answer the question, "What would Jesus do?" It
must be granted that our Lord never drove a car, set an alarm
clock, worked with a computer, read a book, handled an electric
saw, or used a shower in His life. He never handled a ball
point pen, never peddled a bicycle, never opened a can of
food, and probably never rode a horse in His life. Yet, since
we know certain principles of His life and have discovered
how He lived, we are prepared to know something about how
He would live if He were alive today. We must take
what we have learned and make some practical applications.
Lets ask, "What would Jesus do?," in
regard to the following activities. Be willing to examine
yourself in these same activities. Would you do
what Jesus would do?
Would Jesus . . .
- Use profanity (Colossians 3:8)?
- Become selfishly angry (Matthew 5:22; Ephesians
- Tell a lie (Colossians 3:9)?
- Sexually lust for a woman (Matthew 5:27-28)?
- Pray to the Father regularly (Luke 18:1)?
- Read the Bible every day (Matthew 4:4)?
- Be ashamed to speak of God (Mark 8:38)?
- Seek to get rich (1 Timothy 6:9-10)?
- Dress immodestly or provocatively (1 Timothy
- Selfishly divorce a wife (Luke 16:18)?
- Remarry after divorce (Matthew 19:9)?
- Become intoxicated (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians
- Smoke cigarettes (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians
- Speak kind and helpful words (Ephesians 4:29)?
- Be thoughtful and gentle toward people (Matthew
- Treat the poor with respect (Luke 16:19-20;
- View pornography (2 Timothy 2:22)?
- Play foolish computer games (Titus 3:3)?
- Watch sinful television programs (1 Peter 2:11)?
- View sinful Hollywood movies (Philippians 4:8)?
- Own a luxury automobile (1 John 2:16-17)?
- Waste precious time (Ephesians 5:15-16)?
- Waste precious possessions (John 6:12)?
- Waste money God has given (Luke 16:10)?
- Listen to rock, country, or rap music (Philippians
- Seek worldly education (1 Corinthians 3:19-20)?
- Eat too much or harmful foods (1 Corinthians
- Drive in a fast or reckless manner (Romans
- Pay taxes and observe civil regulations (Romans
- Play the lottery or gamble in other ways (Luke
- Sleep too much (Romans 12:11; Hebrews 6:12)?
- Read foolish and sinful literature (Romans
- Have a job requiring sinful compromise (1 Thess.
- Seek a luxurious house and furnishings (Luke
- Indulge in homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27)?
- Pile up money in the bank (Matthew 6:19-21)?
- Spend a day at an amusement park (1 John 2:15-17)?
- Be more interested in giving than receiving
- Express love toward those in need (Luke 10:25-37)?
- Forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 18:21-35)?
- Rebuke those who sin (Luke 17:3)?
How have you answered the foregoing questions? Hopefully,
you were able to "judge with righteous judgment" and
determine what Jesus would do in each case (John 7:24). But
if you have been able to see what Jesus would do, we must
ask you personally: "What would you do?" What
would I do? How do we confront the thousands of situations
in life that require us to decide between different alternatives?
Are we careful to do what Jesus would door do we compromise
and do what our flesh, our heart, our body seeks? Whats
worse, do we even care what Jesus would do? Do we
hypocritically want to be identified with Jesus but have
little or no interest in following Him in a practical way?
Consider for a few moments these compromising situations
- If Jesus would not use bad language, do you
use such language?
- If Jesus would not misuse His money, do you
carelessly misuse your money?
- If Jesus would not sexually touch a person
of the opposite sex, do you indulge in sexual compromise?
- If Jesus would not participate in violent competitive
sports, do you enjoy watching or following such sports?
- If Jesus would not wear revealing or expensive
clothing, do you wear immodest clothes?
- If Jesus would not treat people disrespectfully,
are you unkind and unloving toward certain people?
- If Jesus honored His parents, do you honor
- If Jesus loved and used Scripture, do you seldom
read and study the Bible?
- If Jesus would not smoke or use tobacco, do
you sometimes indulge this filthy habit?
- If Jesus would not read filthy literature,
do you sometimes yield to such magazines, books, pictures,
- If Jesus would not watch the worldliness on
television, do you give in to this popular pastime?
- If Jesus denounced the religious hypocrisy
in His time, do you expose the hypocrisy in the churches
you know about?
- If Jesus had a burning desire to love and serve
God, do you have a like passion?
Yes, what about us? Do we ask the question, "What would
Jesus do?" Do we really want the answer? Do we act as
though Jesus never lived and never taught the will of God?
When this matter of following in the steps of Jesus is mentioned,
most people overlook a very important qualification. It is
the key to the whole question we have been discussing. In
order to truly follow in the steps of Jesus, we must belong
to Him! We must become His follower! We must identify with
What do we mean by this? As long as we are in our sins,
we are cut off from God. If we have never been forgiven of
our many sins, we are lost and separated from God. This is
why Jesus came to this earth! He came to die for our sins
so that we might be forgiven of them. He "bore our sins
in His body on the cross" and "died for sins once
for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring
us to God" (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18). Because the Lord Jesus
gave Himself for our sins, we may be forgiven of them and
enter into a saving relationship with God through Him (Romans
Furthermore, Jesus said that just as we have been born physically,
so we may be born spiritually and become a son or daughter
in Gods spiritual family (John 3:3-16; 1 John 3:1-2).
We can receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts (Ephesians
1:13) and through this wonderful gift, we have the power and strength to
live before God in holiness and righteousness (Ephesians
3:16). Therefore, Paul writes, "The mind set on the
flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and
peace. . . . If you are living according to the flesh, you
must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the
deeds of the body, you will live" (Romans 8:6,13). We
can become new creatures in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17)
and "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God
has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Ephesians
4:24; cf. Colossians 3:9-10).
When we have been forgiven of all our sins, when we are
made new persons in Christ, and when we have Gods Holy
Spirit living in us, we then have the ability
or strength to live as Jesus lived! We
are able to ask, "What would Jesus do?" God will
be at work in us, "both to will and to work for His
good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Apart from this inner
strength and spiritual transformation, we will not be able
to fully walk in the steps of Jesus in a practical way in
our lives. We may even fight against certain things He taught
and oppose what He would want in our lives!
But how can we come to God through Jesus Christ? In deep
sorrow and grief, we must renounce all of our sins. We must
repent of them and turn from them (see Acts 3:19,26; 17:30-31;
26:18,20). We must forsake any sins or sinful relationships
we now have (1 Thessalonians 1:9; Proverbs 28:13). We must
turn to God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31;
John 3:15-18), placing our faith in the Christ who died and
rose again for us (Romans 3:24-26; 5:1). We are not saved
by our own ability or deeds, but by Gods love and grace
toward us (Ephesians 2:8-10). Scripture also says that we
must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord or Ruler (Romans
10:9-10) and determine to let Him govern all aspects of our
personal lives (Luke 6:46). As we come to Christ in faith,
we are to express this coming by being baptized into Christ
(Galatians 3:26-27) and into His death (Romans 6:3-8), as
well as being buried with Him through baptism into our own
death to sin and then rising to walk in newness of life (Romans
6:3-5). We may have all of our sins forgiven and receive
Gods precious gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-41;
22:16)! We will then be able to live as Jesus lived in fellowship
Would Jesus Do?
What would Jesus do? It is a good question! Let us ask it
often! Let us seek to really know the mind of the Lord, revealed
in the written Word (the Bible). Let us seek to discern how
the apostles and other followers of Jesus would live if they
walked among us today (see 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Thessalonians
1:6; Philippians 3:17; 4:9). If we truly know Jesus, we are
to walk as He walked and do His will (1 John 2:3-6). If you
do not personally know Him yet and are not one of His true
disciples, now is the time to come to Him. Jesus said, "If
you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free" (John 8:31-32).