WWJD What Would Jesus Do?
WWJB Who Would Jesus Be?
Battle of the Do-Gooders DO BE DO BE DO
Perhaps “being” is preeminently more important than “doing.” For if I am being or becoming the right person, then doing right will or can become quite effortless.
“What Would Jesus DO” then becomes “Who Would Jesus BE” in any given situation.
“A man (rich young ruler) came to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I DO to have eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey His commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ the man asked. …I have obeyed all of these. What else must I do?’ ”
The young ruler was looking for the one ‘good deed’ that would gain him eternal life. Jesus, knowing his true inner struggle with wealth, said these important things.
“Only God is good’” and “If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you own, give the money to the poor… then come and be my follower. When the young man heard this, he was sad, because he was very rich.” Mathew 19:16-22 .
When money, lust and human ego have a party, we see man at his worst and Jesus in true fashion.
Who was and is Jesus? What is he really like?
“Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought. Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. He gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.” Philippians 2:3-8
What about me?
I, who am sinful and not good, am asked to do good. I, who am sinful and seeking personal glory, am asked to give this glory away and risk becoming a nobody. Like the rich young ruler, I too love the fantasy of an EASY button— that one premium, unselfish act that might alter my good-to-bad ratio and finally push me over into acceptance land. I want to be known as a “good” man but I do not want to go through the pain of selling everything I own and giving to the poor. I don’t want you to know how very imperfect I really am. Who I am becoming is tested daily against this rich young ruler’s plight.
I can do good and take the credit. “When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your father in heaven. When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and He will reward you”. Matthew 6:1-4
I may do good so that others will place me in office or higher in social esteem. I please and impress others in exchange for their admiration. I hope that something I do or perform can finally make me feel significant and I often place on others the responsibility of maintaining my sense of self worth. All too often I give in and compare my insides to others outsides. My reward for doing this is either false pride or depression because comparatively, there will always be someone worse off or someone better off than me.
People today are still asking the question, “What good thing must I do”? There’s a lot of competition to see who can do the most good deeds. The real questions they are asking are:
Who will love me just the way I am, the good and the bad?
When can I stop the maddening performance?
I want to stop wondering about whether I qualify or not.
Can I really work my way to acceptance from God ? What is it that I can do to make Him love me? Thankfully, God doesn’t require me to work my way to Him at all. My becoming and remaining a Christian is his performance, not mine. My salvation from him is not deed-based— (good or bad)—it is mercy based.
“Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.” Romans 4:4,5
“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.” Ephesians 2:8,9
“God our Savior has showed us how good and kind He is. He saved us because of His mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done.” Titus 3:4,5
Do I believe that God Himself will do the job I so often have delegated to others—that of creating a nucleus of self-worth within me? Do I have a persistent belief and an actual experience of being loved by God in spite of myself and my sinfulness?
I am not good, only God is, but I can do good. Because God loves me just as I am, I no longer need to try and impress you or compare myself to you. Accepting this is a great freedom and helps me to stay off of the performance roller coaster. God simply wants me available to do His good works, not mine. I am a significant nobody, who can quickly say that any good you might have seen in me, or received from me, is truly from a loving God.
I will add that he makes me quite uncomfortable when I try to take credit and when I present myself as someone having arrived and no longer in need of grace. Such pretense, not my admission of personal sinfulness, is what keeps others from knowing about God’s grace, love and forgiveness in Christ.
Now I am learning about “being”
I am discovering that God and God alone is capable of balancing my narcissistic existence. He is the real good deed doer, as lasting good deeds go. I, a mere servant acting on His desire to love the people of this world, can finally find my greatest and highest sense of purpose and meaning. His Glory! It isn’t about me after all.
Now, as a Christian, I have work to do
“Faith that doesn’t lead us to good deeds is all alone and dead… You can now see that we please God by what we do and not only by what we believe.” James 2:17,24
I do His good deeds while being a Christian, not in order to become or to remain one
If I could somehow work to earn or keep God’s love and forgiveness, then Jesus’ life and death is meaningless for me. (Galatians 2:21) I certainly would also struggle with pride and I would be judgmental toward those who were “less” than me. Since I could not work to earn my salvation, neither can I work to keep it. So it is He who secures my eternity, not my efforts at being sin-less. I must not try to do your good works or compare yours with mine. I choose not to limit God to any individual, or denomination’s idea of what His work for me will be.
I will wake each morning with open hands and thankful heart and say: “Good morning Lord. I love and praise you. All that I am is yours. Do your good deeds through me today as I become your servant.”
“Jesus Christ will keep you busy doing good deeds that bring glory and praise to God.” —Philippians 1:11
Related verses from the Bible
“I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s Kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God’s Spirit gives new life.” Jesus —-John 3: 5-8
“Everything is pure for someone whose heart is pure. But nothing is pure for an unbeliever with a dirty mind. That person’s mind and conscience are destroyed. Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don’t. They are disgusting. They won’t obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good.” Titus 1:15,16
“Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds?. Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life.” I Peter 3:13-15
“Don’t get tired of helping others. You will be rewarded when the time is right, if you don’t give up. We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord.” Galatians 6:9,10
“Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
“…we always pray that God will show you everything he wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding that his Spirit gives. Then you will live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better. His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy.” Colossians 1:9-11
“The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds.” II Timothy 3:17
Also: Romans 12:21, II Thessalonians 3