I wish I could do impressions of people. I think impressions are hilarious. When one human being can imitate another human being, that's reason to laugh. They can be so funny.
- Frank Caliendo can do a perfect John Madden impression.
- My old college roommate, Mike Archer, can do about a hundred dead-on impressions, including a you-think-its-really-him Ravi Zacharias.
- Even my brother Pete can do impressions (including an often-copied Ace impression and a rarely heard Spencer DeBurgh impression).
Me? I can't do one. I try, but they just don't sound good.
When I try to do impressions, I find that I can't. But, sometimes, I find myself inadvertently imitating people. When I hang out with certain people, I've noticed that I pick up on their mannerisms and make them my own. Little phrases people use, ways people talk, or even facial expressions all have been incorporated into my personality just from hanging out and spending time with others.
- I picked up using the word "buster" from hanging around Todd Kellner.
- I've noticed I've used the comeback "Believe it!" from being around Wayne Beilgard.
- I use the phrase "where the rubber meets the road" from spending time with Andrew Johnson.
I didn't try to impersonate these people. I wasn't trying to be like them. It just happened from being around them.
Francis Chan notes: "I have found that through spending time with those I respect, I become more like them than I would simply by trying to do what they do. "
This is true with me trying to do impressions and this is how it is in my relationship with God. Sometimes, I try to do what God does. I try to live like Christ lived. I try to love people like He did, walk in step with the Spirit like He did, and glorify God like He did. But (just like my failed attempts at impressions) I can't.
I can't, that is, unless I'm spending time with God. When I spend time with Him, when I have fellowship with Him, and when I commune with Him, I begin to look like Him. It's not about God saving me and sending me on my merry little way to try my hardest to be good. It's about God saving me and God continually working on me to make me look more like Jesus by producing the fruit of the Spirit in my life.
Look at Moses when he communed with God: "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him."--Exodus 34.29-30
Moses didn't try really hard to have his face shine; it was the result of him having been with God. Maybe one reason my spiritual life can be so shallow is that I am trying to obey God without God. Trying to live like Jesus without Jesus. Trying to live in accordance with the Spirit without the Spirit. Copy Him without communion with Him.
Thankfully, I don't have to try hard to be like God. He has provided a Way for me to always commune with Him to receive the grace I need. What is this Way?
"Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." -- Hebrews 10.19-23