Friday, September 12, 2014
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My friend, Lance, has played a lot of parts on stage, and he has a lot of acting ability. Naturally he was interested when he heard that his church was going to do an outreach drama. It was to be held in a public auditorium and they developed this powerful, original presentation of The Life of Christ. And Lance was stunned by the casting choice they made. They wanted to cast him as Jesus. Well, Lance had been in enough productions to know that you've got to get into the person you're playing. You have to stay in that character all day long if possible. And Lance said he really tried. And he told me, "You know what I discovered? I couldn't play Jesus." Neither can you.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "There's Only One Way to Portray Jesus."
Which leads us to our word for today from the Word of God from the pen of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20. Here's what he says: "I have been crucified with Christ. And I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Now, Lance did end up portraying Christ in that drama. And he said the drama had an incredibly powerful impact in their community. But you know what he told me? "I just couldn't get into the person of Jesus. So I decided that He would have to get into me. I can't be Jesus. No human being can." He said, "Only Jesus could be Jesus. So I concluded that I would have to let Jesus be Jesus through me." Well I said, "Lance, that's the ultimate secret of the Christian life. It's that 2:20 principle from Galatians 2:20. "It is not I but Christ." Those four words sum it all up. "It's not I but Christ." It's not me living the Christian life; it's Him doing it through me. I cannot live this Jesus life. Only one person ever did. Only one person can today.
This is a matter not of striving and trying harder. It's a matter of you surrendering and letting Jesus be Jesus through you. That's why He said, "I am the vine; you are the branch." You're not like this herniated little branch off on its' own going, "I've got to produce some fruit. I've got to produce fruit. I've got to..." No, all the life comes from the vine. It looks like it's coming from the branch, but it's only coming through the branch. We're just Jesus' branches.
This is a liberating discovery of the Christian experience: Jesus through me; not me doing it for Jesus. If you're like most believers, though, you're probably working very hard to be like Christ and you're frustrated. You're tired. You've dedicated, you've re-dedicated, and you've re-re-re-re-re-dedicated. You're having devotions and you're praying and witnessing, going to the right meetings, and you're serving. All good things to do, but you're saying, "Why is this so hard?"
Well you were never meant to play Jesus. What He's asking you to do is to give up all your striving and let Him take over; to trade in your efforts for His strength. Abide in Christ instead of striving for Christ.
You might be all worn out from trying to live the Christian life. You've been trying to play Jesus and you're tired. There's good news. You were never meant to. You can resign from trying right now and say, "Jesus, I just want a total takeover by you. I've been trying to produce your characteristics in my life and I have failed at doing it." Why don't you let Jesus play Himself through your personality. You make this a daily thing; a daily surrender; an hourly surrender of your life. "Jesus, live your life through me."
The results? They're going to be more powerful than anything you have experienced so far. You'll discover that there's only one way to portray Jesus. Let Jesus do it.