Almost all the Christians I know try hard to live the way they think they should, not primarily because they fear God is keeping tabs on their actions but because they want to live in a world where people treat each other well and trust one another.
I also know that most don’t find living the way they want to be as easy as they’d like. Not only do they face the obvious difficulties but they find making decisions about what constitutes living justly less than simple.
When friends ask how to make their attempts to live as Christ more successful and how to know the right thing to do in difficult cases, the best piece of wisdom I have to pass along came from a professor many years ago. “Before you can love and act the way Jesus did you have to see the world the way Jesus saw it.”
When Jesus looked around him, he saw God at work in everyone and everything. When he met laborers, when he witnessed celebrations, when he gathered with mourners, when he touched the sick and watched children, he saw God’s handiwork – not the finished product, not the perfection of what would be but the process of an ongoing effort of love.
For years, as a student, I heard preachers and spiritual advisors tell me to put on the mind of Christ. It always sounded like so much boiler-plate piety. It was many years and much living later that I realized the wisdom those words held. It is only when we view the reality and potential for good of everything around us that we will love and respect our surroundings – both people and things – as Jesus did. Only when we see what God is doing can we join in his efforts.
The essence of prayer is seeing creation as the Creator sees it. That idea doesn’t always help since we’re so conditioned to think of prayer as telling God something. But if we can change that idea and understand prayer as putting aside our assumptions about what’s going on around us and allowing God to point out a fuller reality, we will benefit immensely.
Maybe we should get wrist bands asking not what would Jesus do but what would Jesus see.