A popular blog I read this morning suggested that one pathway to happiness is to "imitate" a spiritual master--someone like Jesus. I cringed. The not-flair bells rang. I frowned and felt the same way I do when somebody tells me to just "try harder" and I'll find holiness. It's just not true. Telling a person to imitate a spiritual master to find real life and joy is like telling a cardboard box to act more like a computer in order to come alive.
Imitation doesn't change the inherent problem I have. I need an infusion of grace, not an imitation of one.
Imitating a master is also like telling two people to stare at each other and imitate a relationship. I don't want to imitate love. I want to be in love. Imitation isn't the trick.
A relationship with God is a romance. It's an infusion of power, of love, of joy, of deeply knowing. It's not imitating a master or doing what Jesus would do. That kind of life doesn't work. It never has.
That's why the gospel is good news. I want to know Jesus and have him give me the power to live the life I'm supposed to.
Christianity isn't a religion of imitation--of acting more like Jesus. It's exchanging our weaknesses for his strength, for inviting his presence into our lives, and for depending on his love and peace on a daily basis.
It's not imitation. It's infusion.
I'm off to the pool. My children have been in their bathing suits since 8:30 AM. The towels and sunscreen are all in a row. The snacks are ready. The goggles are tightened. We could sit on the couch and imitate swimming, or we could dive into that delicious water. I think I know what we'll choose. Living with flair means I'm experiencing a life of joy, not imitating one.