"A mother teaches a baby to talk by talking to it as if it understood long before it really does" C.S. Lewis
I like Lewis concept of "Let's Pretend" How we begin to dress up as Christ, and how we address God as Father when we pray, even if we aren't believers yet. How we as believers should be drawing people into the life of Christ, and His example. How they begin to experience this life in community with us. They taste and see that the Lord is good. And then "Christ, Himself, the Son of God who is man (just like [them]) and God (just like His Father) is actually at [their] side and is already at that moment beginning to turn [their] pretence into a reality." Often when we pretend long enough it becomes our reality. And sometimes we aren't even sure when it became our reality! But we must acknowledge and accept the reality.
When a person is accepted into community, and loved, and treated as a member of that community even if they haven't commited to "joining up" they begin the process of becoming, not just acting. "At first it is natural for a baby to take its mother's milk without knowing its mother. It is equally natural for us to see the man who helps us without seeing Christ behind him." and then.." We must go on to recognize the real Giver."
And on the flip side Lewis says "But [God] says 'Let us pretend that this is not a mere creature, but our Son. It is like Christ in so far as it is a Man, for He became Man. Let us pretend that it is also like Him in Spirit. Let us treat it as if it were what in fact it is not. Let us pretend in order to make the pretence into a reality.' God looks at you as if you were a little Christ: Christ stands beside you to turn you into one." The higher raises the lower. And if Christ models this for us, ought we not do the same for others in our life?