I recently finished a book called In His Steps “What Would Jesus Do?” by Charles M. Sheldon. I realized after reading this book that this book may have been the driving force behind the WWJD? movement of the 90s. What surprised me about this possibility was In His Steps was published in 1897.
The basic premise of this book is this: a pastor challenges his congregation to commit to asking themselves the question "What would Jesus do?" and then doing what Jesus would do for the next year. People examine their actions, from newspaper tycoons, to rich heiresses, from business men, to thugs. At the same time, people, even other Christians, think that to try to live in a way Jesus would is fanatical, over-the-top, and weird.
As I read this book, the thought struck me, how would have Jesus acted in the 1990s when WWJD? become a popular slogan, making money for Christian publishing companies? Would He have made money from a pithy catchphrase? Would He have marketed it to the churches?
Those questions aside, the author makes a point of having each character decide what would Jesus do in their shoes, no one else's shoes. They acknowledged that another person in similar circumstances may be called to act differently. They just were to try to live their lives in a way that they thought Jesus would, while meeting with others of a similar mind to pray for and encourage each other. Some people would ask advice of others, but the ultimate decision was each individual's, because each individual would be standing before God one day, answering for their actions.
I recommend this book. It is challenging, but it also makes me wonder, what would the world look like if every Christian asked themselves "What would Jesus do in my situation?" and then went & did that thing?