Impersonator or Imposter?
Does impersonating Christ sound hypocritical to you? If so, it may be because you’ve not understood the difference between an impersonator and an impostor.
An impersonator is one who “assumes or acts the character of,” or “pretends to be (another person)”
An impostor is one who “assumes false identity or title for the purpose of deception”
If you’ve seen the movie Catch Me if You Can you’ve watched an impersonator (actor Leonardo DiCaprio) play the part of a true impostor (Frank Abagnale, Jr.).
Paul speaks of us “putting on” Christ like an actor dresses for a role: “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Rom. 13:14), “…all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27)
He urged the believers in Corinth saying, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1), and those in Philippi, “Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” (Phil. 3:17), and Thessalonica, “For you yourselves know how you must imitate us… we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us.” (2 Thess. 3:7,9) [See also 1 Cor. 4:16, 1 Tim. 4:12, Heb.13:7]
Does this whole idea of “acting” like Jesus still disturb you? Consider these insights of C.S. Lewis…
Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children’s games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups—playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.
Now, the moment you realise ‘Here I am, dressing up as Christ,’ it is extremely likely that you will see at once some way in which at that very moment the pretence could be made less of a pretence and more of a reality. You will find several things going on in your mind which would not be going on there if you were really a son of God. Well, stop them. Or you may realise that, instead of saying your prayers, you ought to be downstairs writing a letter, or helping your wife to wash- up. Well, go and do it. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
So… today… try it out! Start “acting” like Jesus! Find ways to show others what Jesus would do if He were here in bodily form instead of you. By doing these things, you in fact will be transforming that little bit more that we talked about yesterday. This is not being a hypocrite, but becoming a better disciple. It’s an exciting business!
“Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].” (Eph. 5:1, Amplified Bible)