Something strange has been happening to me lately. Because of the early year conferences and speaking responsibilities on my schedule, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I don’t usually post pictures of where I am and what I’m doing because I can only think of two people who would be interested and they both know where I am. But something odd has happened on my last three trips that I think is worth mentioning.
There have been three different Elvis impersonators on the flights I have been on.
Now, the first guy looked really good, the other two, not so much. I didn’t get to hear any of them sing, but I did find myself humming “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog,” all three times. All of them were in full regalia, too, proving that if you are going to go there, you might as well go all the way.
The Apostle Paul says something about imitating someone in I Corinthians 11:1. It reads, “Imitate me as I also imitate Christ.” But, that’s not at all what these guys were doing with Elvis. They were trying to act like Elvis – look like him, sing like him, and maybe dance like him, though one of them was built like Elvis in his jelly doughnut stage and I’m not sure he could have moved very much.
Paul understood that he could not only act like Christ – the Christ life had to take over his life. He was not a “Christ impersonator,” he was a vessel for Christ to live through him.
I’m afraid as a long-time church going person, I can imitate being a Christian pretty well. That is a far cry from releasing control of my life to the One who dwells within me.
Paul would say, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21, CSB) and “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ in me.” (Galatians 2:19b-20, CSB)
That’s not impersonating Jesus the way someone can impersonate Elvis – something that can be turned on and turned off. That is total surrender of my life to the Spirit of God who lives in me. It is emptying myself the way Paul describes in II Timothy 4:6 – “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering…” (CSB).
When I saw those dudes in the airport, I immediately thought of Elvis. May the people who encounter me today be more than just reminded of Jesus – may they encounter His life in me.
May they see the only One who can change their lives forever.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.