Will You Act the Part, or Be the Part?
When I think back to my time in medical school, I remember a day I anticipated for many years. Instead of practicing techniques (like drawing blood), the time had finally arrived for us to go into the hospital and play the part of a real doctor: work on real live patients, take histories, perform physical exams, formulate diagnoses, order tests, be a part of the healing process and really care for patients. I even dressed the part, wearing a tie with my doctor’s lab coat, stethoscope, reflex hammer, bags under my eyes and ever-present bed head. I still usually get a crew cut as an ingrained habit from those formative days!
Not only did I dress the part, I was also taught how to act on the outside: take a history, respond with respect and professionalism, speak to nurses and other healthcare personnel using a special code—the medical lingo you hear on TV. But none of this made me a doctor on the inside. I always felt uneasy and insecure. My external façade covered up my internal inadequacies. When I finally developed the mind and expertise of a doctor, peace erased fear and anxiety, and my internal state determined my external actions. I no longer had to fake it.
When we become Christians, God places the Holy Spirit in us. In doing so, He equips us to be holy. There is a vast difference between being holy and trying to appear holy. Trying to appear holy without submitting to the Holy Spirit is truly a form of hypocrisy. The Holy Bible teaches us that God reserved some of his strongest condemnation for those who paraded their pretense of holiness whenever they had an audience. Holiness can only happen when we die to self and let God live through us.
Our role sounds simple: get out of the Holy Spirit’s way. Boy, is it tough! How do we do it? Absorb God’s instruction, spend time with God and then exercise discipline and training by practicing what we learn. It’s all about decision-making and developing the Mind of Christ so we can be in sync with the Holy Spirit, instead of at odds with His leading and guidance. Like becoming a trained and expert physician, it doesn’t happen randomly. We are called to renew our minds daily. What strategy will you use to renew your mind, or are you randomly trying to develop the mind of Christ? Peace will be quite elusive if your strategy is random.
Today, do you have a desire for peace? If so, you have to work on your mind! Be disciplined, yes disciplined. (I love that word—training to ensure proper behavior and to build character; to make yourself do something regularly). That is how you become a disciple of Christ. One way to exercise this discipline is to STOP and think before acting in all situations. Give the Holy Spirit time and space to teach and act in you and through you. Developing discipline is a series of decisions, so the ball is in your court. Whether you just act the part or you are actually being the part, it’s your decision, so choose well. That is what a good and faithful servant does.
Dear Father, I want to be holy. But it’s a goal that seems so elusive because I am in constant danger of falling prey to serious sin, especially pride and hypocrisy. I desire holiness in all my conduct because Your word clearly instructs me to be holy. Help me understand that holiness is letting You live through me. I pray, Lord, for the patience to pause before I respond so that Your Holy Spirit may take charge and give me the response that lets other see that You live through me. I pray in the holy name of the One who teaches me how to be holy, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:15-16
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Romans 8:9
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