Have you ever acted in a part? A play? Church skit? I used to participate regularly in theatrical productions, and I very much enjoyed acting. It let me express sides of people that I wouldn’t have the nerve or courage to otherwise express. I got to slip out of who I was for a time, and be someone else. I could play another person with full abandon because I wasn’t responsible for that person: I was under the authority of the director. I could shed my entire personality and clothe myself with another persona.
As I was reading in Romans 7 this morning, a little something clicked.
What if being a Christian is just a little akin to acting a role? There are too many finer points for there to be any firm parallels, mind you, but the thought of it made it a little easier for me to visualize living for Christ.
When we become a Christian, we die to self, and are re-born in Jesus. We become a new creature. [2 Corinthians 5.17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.] We have a new role, because we are a new person. If we follow the actor analogy, we slip on a new character (although, in reality, the new character is not a role, but who we actually ARE). Romans 7 is about wrestling with the flesh: knowing that it’s not really YOU any more, but knowing also that you follow that old flesh sometimes, anyway.
Sometimes it’s easier to play a role when you acknowledge it’s not really you. Take on the role of Jesus. Immerse yourself in His character.
- You get a script to follow (the Bible, if you will).
- The Character you assume is well-developed and well-researched. You have a whole book to read about Him.
- When you are “in character,” you might say or do things that are not in your (fleshly) character. But you can be more comfortable in staying in character because you are under the authority of the Director. There is no need to insert any of “you” into the role you play. However, the Character is revealed through you, personally.
- When you step out of character, you are not following the Director, and are failing to follow the script. You might ruin the plot. As in Romans 7, sometimes you may slip and fall back into your own character. All it takes is a look back at the Script.
- If you extemporize on the dialog, you may change the meaning of the delivery, and indeed, the whole plot. Again, another reading of the Script will bring clarity.
- When you play the Character correctly, you are putting off all nuances and definitions of who you are in your flesh. You put on the whole Character of Christ.
- The more you play the Character, the more you become like Him.
- A strong actor will carry the other actors in a performance; will indeed change the tenor of the whole production.
Romans 13.14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.