The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful (Proverbs 12:5).

We all face many choices, difficult decisions and obstacles in our lifetime and it is often prudent to share those thoughts, ideas and struggles with someone you trust in order to receive wise counsel. However, as we do, we must be cautious as to whom we solicit advice from and how we scrutinize the information and the intentions of those providing it.

Do you get talked into or involved in things just because others are, only to regret later?

Do you believe everything you read on the internet?

Are you easily influenced by what society says you should pursue, have, and wear?

Do you listen to that “still small voice” or do you follow only the one which you agree with and want to hear?

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (Genesis 3:4-6).

Today we are bombarded with so much instantaneous information. We know almost everything about everyone the moment they do it, mostly because they tell us (and we tell them).

Through Facebook posts, blog sites, tweets, Pinterest pins or a reply to someone else’s comment, we open ourselves up to and welcome friends and strangers alike to “contribute” their two cents into our life, and likewise, we feel “empowered” to do the same for others.

Some have (or seemed to have) gained a new sense of “expertise” and (the perception of) “wisdom” sitting in anonymity behind a keyboard and a computer screen as they dole out instruction and advice (mostly opinion) on how to live your life. What may be even more troubling is how we as a society have become so concerned with what others think we should do, how we should look and what they think of us.

In 1897, Charles Monroe Sheldon wrote and published a book by the name of In His Steps. It has become one of the best-selling books of all time although what may be even more popular than the manuscript itself is the subtitle which coined the phrase, What Would Jesus Do?

“What would Jesus do?” or “WWJD” became a wildly popular term in the 1990’s. It developed into the mantra for many believers to remind, challenge and inspire ourselves to ask “What would Jesus do?” before each action or response in every situation we face. I remember seeing the WWJD embossed bracelets on everyone’s wrist and WWJD bumper stickers on cars. It was difficult to go into any church in the country without seeing something related to WWJD.

I was curious as to the far-reaching extent of the WWJD campaign, so I searched for more information on this movement. I found almost one and a half a million responses when I Googled “WWJD” and 224 million for “What would Jesus do?”

I found websites devoted to answering the question for anyone wondering what they should do in a specific situation. I discovered organizations and ministries dedicated to serving others in the WWJD motto. There is a WWJD Facebook page (which I was tempted to “Like”). There was a song titled “What Jesus would do?” I learned of a movie of the same name based upon Charles Monroe Sheldon’s book. I found the bracelets and bumper stickers, along with cartoons, dog tags, plush toys, posters, flashlights, coffee mugs, t-shirts, necklaces, sunglasses, hats, and yes, even underwear!

For the hundred million sites in response to the WWJD effort, I have to wonder, “What would Jesus do about them?” What would He think about where His name is being used and in such a manner?

Over the years, I have queried myself to consider what He would do when I faced certain situations. However, even with spending time in His Word attempting to discern His possible actions, I have found it would be better spent not trying to figure out what He would do, but rather What Does Jesus Want ME to Do?

You can argue this as just semantics, but I have found this to be a better way to ward off the “noise” of “public opinion” and to get more personal, and isn’t that what a relationship with Jesus is all about? It’s getting personal with Him, knowing what He has created you to do and be. We can easily speculate as to what someone else may do, but it doesn’t answer, nor provide any benefit to, the question of what Jesus want each of us to do, specifically.

Granted, all of us should be striving to live a life which exudes Jesus to those around us; however, each of us is called to do so in different ways.

Realizing this, I have become less judgmental (and concerned) of how others are leading their life (and decisions they make) and more concerned with the calling Jesus has given me. Oftentimes it’s easier to notice (and comment) on how someone else should be living rather than worrying about ourselves.

With access to so much information, advice, suggestions, self-help websites, etcetera, the most godly thing we can do is filter what society tells us to do, friends and well-meaning family espouse we should do, Christian website writers suggest and even at times what Jesus would do Himself, and focus on what He wants YOU to do in that exact situation and for your life.

Listen for His voice above the clamor of everything and everyone else and follow the path He set explicitly FOR YOU.

If only Adam and Eve had.

God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die'" (Genesis 3:3).

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to cydmg@yahoo.com.

Publication date: June 4, 2013