Monday, August 23, 2004
My friend, Lance, has played a lot of parts on stage. He's got a lot of acting ability, and naturally he was interested when he heard that his church was going to do an outreach drama. They rented a public auditorium and they developed this powerful original presentation of the Life of Christ. And then 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 have to try 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 then he told me, "I discovered I couldn't play Jesus." Well, 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."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the pen of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20. And 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."
Lance, by the way, did end up playing Christ in that drama, and he said the drama had an incredibly powerful impact on their community. But he explained to me, "I couldn't get into the person of Jesus. So, I decided that He would have to get into me. I can't be Jesus," he said. "No human being can. Only Jesus can be Jesus. So I concluded I'd have to let Jesus be Jesus through me." I told Lance, "This is the ultimate secret of the Christian life, man. 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 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 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 over there on the ground saying, "Oh, I gotta produce fruit, gotta produce fruit, gotta produce fruit!" 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 the liberating secret of the Christian experience. Jesus through me - not me doing it for Jesus. If you're like most believers, you're working very hard to be like Christ, you're frustrated and you're tired. You've dedicated, you've rededicated, you've re-rededicated, you're having devotions, you're praying, you're witnessing, you're going to the right meetings, you're serving, and those are 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 give up all that striving and to let Him take over, to trade that in for abiding in Christ instead of striving for Christ. Maybe you're all worn out from trying to live the Christian life. You've been trying to play Jesus and you're tired.
Well, there's good news! You were never meant to. You can resign from trying and say, "Jesus, I want a total take-over by you. I've been trying to produce your characteristics in my life and I've failed. Let Jesus play himself through your personality. Make this a daily surrender - an hourly surrender of your life. "Jesus, you live your life through me." The results will be more powerful than anything you have ever experienced. You will have discovered that there is only one way to portray Jesus - let Him do it!