November 26, 2012 - Wannabe
By Jerry D. Scott
Do you know what a "wannabe" is? No, it's not an exotic animal from Australia. It's a person who desperately "wants to be" somebody, who desires attention.
Years ago, I read "The Great Imposter," a biography of Ferdinand Waldo DeMara Jr., a man of great intelligence who passed himself off at various times as a surgeon on a Canadian naval ship, a Trappist monk, and a teacher at a New England prep school. For a while, DeMara was so good at his game he was indistinguishable from the authentic, even winning accolades for his work! But eventually his lack of credentials and qualifications would become obvious and he would run, only to take on yet another identity. Demara could not stand just being himself and would not put in the work to gain the real skills needed for the roles he craved. He was a wannabe.
Being a wannabe is self-destructive because it requires a person to live a lie. It poisons everything — relationships, accomplishments, and even the sense of self-worth the imposter is pursuing! The wannabe life produces yet another tragic result often unknown to the one living as a pretender: He never finds out who he really is or what God wants from his life. Always trying to be somebody else, he misses the joy of being who he was made to be and joyfully filling the place in this world his gifts, experiences and opportunities create for him.
Some disciples adopt a wannabe discipleship. Instead of "working out their salvation" by digging into the Scripture, dealing with the real issues of their lives, and letting the character of Christ Jesus be uniquely created in them, they choose to become a copy of a preacher they know, or a celebrity Christian, or someone in their church they admire. They start to dress like, talk like, and mimic the mannerisms of their model. They never discover who God wants them to be. The Bible says that in Christ, we are "God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).
Are you letting God lead you through life, creating a masterpiece, or are you settling for a "wannabe" life? Have you fully submitted your life to Christ, allowing for a complete transformation of heart and mind, or are you merely imitating the lifestyle of a disciple you admire?
"Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you" (Romans 12:2,3).
God loves YOU, friend. Yes, it is absolutely true. He won't love you more if you learn to imitate Joyce Meyer, Mother Teresa or Franklin Graham. If you take that route, you will offend Him! He wants you to be you, a unique person with unique qualifications to fill a unique place in this world.
Self-acceptance can be difficult. Looking in the mirror — physically and spiritually — isn't always pretty. But we can take our imperfections and sins to God, and He will work on us, transforming us by giving us the Holy Spirit to work in us. God doesn't do "makeovers." He does transformations. God can take the raw material that is you and do amazing things to create a person full of love, of the beauty of Jesus Christ.
Why not start the transformation process right now? It is called sanctification. That's just a big word for "becoming Christlike." There are spiritual disciplines to learn that help the process along. There are mentors and teachers who help us in our understanding. There will be blunders along the way; but if we are committed to Him and to being authentic, we can be sure of this promise: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).
Live authentically today!
— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Faith Discovery Church (Assemblies of God) in Washington, N.J.