As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I like movies. One of the best I’ve seen in a long time is “There Will Be Blood.” It’s long, it’s slow paced, and it’s completely awesome because of the lead actor, Daniel Day-Lewis. He won his second best actor award for his role in this film. I’ve seen a few of his movies, and this one is by far his “meatiest” to date. He’s an absolute lunatic wild man (the final “milkshake” scene is ridiculously good).
Critics say that what makes Daniel Day-Lewis so good is the way he gets into character. He does a lot of research on the type of character he’ll play, and he COMPLETELY immerses himself in his role during filming. In fact… he never “breaks character” while filming. Ever. When the director yells “Cut!” on the final scene of the day, Daniel Day-Lewis stays in character. He doesn’t become Daniel Day-Lewis again until filming is over.
If this film doesn’t quite do it for you, maybe Borat will. Actor Sasha Baron Cohen portrayed Borat for months leading up to and after “Borat” was released. Every time he appeared in public, it was a Borat (it’s no suprise that he “retired” Borat a few months ago… it must have even annoyed him!).
Psalm 81 has a little bit to say about “method acting.” The author calls his readers to rock out in all out praise to God because of His deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. God instructs them not to worship any other Gods, but the Israelites didn’t listen. They were stubborn, so God let them be stubborn, and allowed enemies to subdue them. God’s mercy overflows in the latter stages of the Psalm–if Israel would just obey Him, He would subdue their enemies. Then look what God says in Psalm 80:15,
Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him; and their time of punishment would be forever. But I would feed you with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.
God isn’t a big fan of acting when it comes to devotion to Him.
There are so many references, especially in the prophets (the dudes who wrote the last part of the Old Testament in the Bible), where God expresses His displeasure at people who are satisfied with “going through the motions.” They show up at the right time to the right gathering, they say the right things, they pray the right prayers, they do all the religious stuff. But their hearts are far away from God. They do their religious duty, and then go home and act as if nothing happened. They live life as if God had no part in it. They may even pray and read their Bibles during the week, but there’s no evidence of life transformation at all.
They’re actors, playing a role before God.
And they aren’t winning any awards for their performance.
For those of us who follow Jesus, there will be times when we “go through the motions”–we’ll lose focus, we’ll get depressed and stressed, and the devil will take advantage of an opportunity to weaken our faith. What the author of this psalm is telling us to look out for is an overall heart problem. He’s not talking about a momentary “slip”. He’s talking about a chronic condition, where a person is never close to God, they’re always content with going through the motions, and they want to live their lives on their own terms.
God isn’t interested in acting. What He desires is full-blown, heart-felt, hard core devotion and commitment to Him. It means making hard choices. It means sacrifice. It means giving all of our lives to Him.
So what are you–an actor playing pretend with God, or the real deal?