What does it mean to “Act” like Jesus?
Do you like to act? When I was growing up, my middle name was “Ham.” I have always loved to get in front of a camera or get up on stage and pretend to be someone.
What child doesn’t like dress up? We were in a home last week and their 8 year old has this wall of bins in his bedroom that are organized around costumes.
I’ve studied acting and, in fact, for the past several years I teach drama on my day off. Each semester there are about 15 elementary students and 30 junior and senior high school students that are learning how to act. We play games like tic-tac-toe stage direction with the younger kids and improv and mime with the older ones. We put on stage plays and musicals.
At its core, I believe drama is about being creative. And in the drama classes I teach, we celebrate that God is the Creator and creativity is His gift.
So, when we are encouraged to “act” like Jesus, is it merely a show? Is it merely pretending? I hope not…
You see, if we have a relationship with Jesus, one where we admire and respect Him, and receive the grace He offers, then acting like Jesus isn’t a show. It’s honoring. It’s respectful. It’s our part of a loving bond to desire to be and do the things that are asked of us by our Creator and our Lord and our Savior. It’s a shift from merely memorizing lines in our mind, to becoming more like Jesus every day in our hearts.
I’m reminded of Philippians 2. From the pen of Paul:
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure (Philippians 2:1-13, The Message).
God himself, working in you… with His energy. The same God AND the same energy that was working in Jesus when He physically walked here… available to you today by the presence of the Holy Spirit… so that you may have all you need to, indeed, act like Jesus.