A few decades ago, Christians everywhere started wearing bracelets with the letters “WWJD”. It was an attempt to encourage the wearers to ask themselves, “What Would Jesus Do?” as they made their way through the day. WWJD captured our imagination and quickly became the ubiquitous symbol of what it meant to truly follow Jesus.

We might think of the WWJD movement as a recent development, but actually the wording has been around for more than 100 years. Charles M. Sheldon, a Topeka minister and evangelical Christian writer, used it in his 1897 novel, “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” He was a social activist focused on justice issues, and his book brought forth the idea that in everything we do, we should be imitating Christ. Our words, our actions, our priorities, our thoughts, our giving….everything we do should reflect Christ to the world.

Paul was way ahead of his time when he wrote this quintessential response to the question of what Jesus would be doing:

Ephesians 5 The Message (MSG)

Wake Up from Your Sleep

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

“Mostly what God does is love you.”

See how beautifully this answers the question of What Would Jesus Do? He Would Love First. (HWLF)

Loving first means to seek out the lost and offer them salvation.

Loving first means that there are no “others,” for everyone is considered by God to be a child of God.

Loving first means we are extravagant with all of our resources, just as Jesus was.

Loving first means we offer ourselves without any expectation of reward or return.

Loving first means to withhold judgment and condemnation and offer acceptance and hospitality. To everyone. Without regard to any differences. You see, if you love first, the differences don’t matter.

Loving first opens wide the hearts, opens wide the minds and certainly opens wide the doors.

Love like that.

How is your HWLF life going? We are offered a chance today to do a deep examination of this standard in the different aspects of our discipleship. Is love your first response, or is legalism? Is love your first answer, or is anger? Is love expressed in your every action, or are you withholding? Does your giving reflect love, or self-love? Is your social media persona a pure reflection of God’s unconditional love for the world, or have you taken sides?

He Would Love First. So must we.

HWLF. It’s the new wave. Photo by Joe McGraw.

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