Fully Human

A couple nights ago I said to Kevin, "I don't think we can be used by God to the fullest extent until we realize how truly human we are." For the past couple years, Kevin has been pretty intensely studying the life and ministry of Jesus, especially focusing on His humanity. Recently we've been studying the life of Jesus at church as well. I don't know about you, but I think in all the years of learning about Jesus in my life, I've always simply thought of him as God. That's who he is, of course, but that's not how he accomplished his miracles, demonstrated his power and loved so perfectly while walking on this earth. If you look closely into scripture, over and over again you see how Jesus relied on his Father in order to accomplish the work he was sent here to do; yet he did not tap into his deity in order to do it. It takes way more than r paragraph to get into all the intricacies of this, and my husband could certainly do a better job of explaining it and pointing to scripture for support along the way. But for me, this reality does something so powerful in my life.

It shows me that we as humans, God's creation, have access to the very same things Jesus used to accomplish his purpose on earth and glorify his Father in heaven. Everything he did pointed to his Father, and the point of it all was to demonstrate absolute obedience to Him, resulting in the greatest gift ever, salvation and eternal life. And what's our purpose here on earth? I believe it's to have a loving relationship with our Creator and to follow Jesus' example of obedience to our heavenly Father, which will in turn bear much fruit and bring in a great harvest for the kingdom. Essentially, we will enjoy who God is, and our lives will bring glory to Him, while drawing others to salvation in Christ. In the end, he will receive us into an eternal paradise and be pleased with what we've done. Sign me up for that!

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" Phil. 2:5-8

Recently Kevin gave me an article to read called, "The Man Christ Jesus," by professor Bruce Ware from Southern Theological Seminary. One particularly powerfully stated part has played over and over in my mind.
"Jesus did not sin, not because he relied on the supernatural power of his own divine nature or because his divine nature overpowered his human nature keeping him from sinning, but it rather is because he utilized all of the resources given to him in his humanity. He loved and meditated on God's word, he prayed to his Father, he trusted in the wisdom and rightness of his Father's will and word, and very significantly, he relied on the supernatural power of the Spirit upon him, to strengthen him to do all that he was called upon to do."

Seems like a simple truth, yet so powerful in what this means for us. How incredibly gracious is God for giving us the very same access and inviting us to do the same as his very own son? Jesus' power, ministry, fruit, and faithfulness came from his diligent prayer life and alone time with his father, from his serious study and meditation of the scriptures, and his absolute reliance on the Holy Spirit. These are the things that matter to Him.

Often when I think of Jesus as using his deity and being God here on earth, it's hard to really believe I can "walk like he did."  ("Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6) It doesn't seem attainable, and if you're like me, anything that doesn't seem attainable is often not even desirable.  Yet when I hear and realize I can know the same kind of intimacy with the Father that Jesus did, my heart certainly beats a little faster.  I shudder to think of how easy and tempting it is in this life to just get through the days, fill up my time and be working towards nothing of eternal value.  Instead, I sincerely want to know the kind of fruit Jesus knew; I want to know the Father like he did; I want my life to point others to so much more than myself.  Something that lasts.  Well really, the only thing that lasts.  It pains me to no end to see how hopeless our world is right now.  How people are willing to live for nothing and believe they were created for nothing.  The striving and the meaninglessness is scary and exhausting.  And people are hurting because of it.  I am desperate for so much more.

When I made that comment the other night to Kevin about realizing how fully human we are, it was in reference to how often we feel like we're failing, not living up to our potential, or just can't figure out God's "will for our lives."  Yet his will is pointed out so clearly by the way his one and only son lived.  It is from following in those footsteps that the fruit we so desire to be displayed in our lives will be produced.  I think we often feel confused, discouraged, and like we're failing because we're relying on ourselves.  And seriously, we as human beings, "are like grasshoppers," in comparison to God, "who sits enthroned upon the circle of the earth."  If we really give ourselves so much credit, we will always, always be disappointed. 

"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers." Isaiah 40:22

We are desperate for a Savior and for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.  And God has done some mighty works through people who have acknowledged their humanity and depended fully on him.  I'm saddened by the chance that I've missed out on anything God might have had for me these past almost 32 years, when I haven't run in desperation to be alone with him, to talk to him, to know his Word better than I know anything else; or to call on the Holy Spirit's help before I call on anyone else or try to figure it out myself.  Without him, I am merely flesh and bones, limited to my own humanity.  But through obedience to him in all these things, my life can be so very much more. How else can I ever really know the full fruit I was created for than by doing these things, just like Jesus did. 

I have finally surrendered to the fact that I cannot be patient and intentional with my children, or kind and loving to my husband, or fill my mind with the right thoughts or not judge or criticize or compare myself to others or serve selflessly; I cannot make wise choices with my time and energy, or accomplish anything good in my life, or choose gentleness over anger, or forgive those who hurt me, or love and offer hope to ANYONE on my own.  I can't do any of this without praying diligently to my Father, learning and loving his word, and relying on the Holy Spirit to do the crucial, though sometimes painful work in me.  The Accuser was thrown out of heaven because he thought himself too special and wanted all the glory.  And I just certainly don't want to end up like him. 

My encouragement to you, and to myself today?  "Let us not become weary in doing good," because it's not up to us to be the good...it completely depends on our reliance and dependence on the Father.  Let's admit together how desperate we are individually...and remember how very human and desperate everyone else is as well, for the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in all our lives.  I'm thinking this would help eliminate the crazy judging and hating going on....which bears no good fruit at all.  We are human, we are desperate, and our eternity is dependent on our receiving the amazing grace available to us all, and submitting our lives to the gracious one who offers it.  I am so thankful that we truly can "live as Jesus lived;" I'm thankful he was fully human while he was here...because it gives me so much hope. So how about we celebrate some serious freedom from the burdens we've been bearing.  Freedom from failing at meeting the crazy expectations we have for ourselves and each other as mere humans, and instead invite the Holy Spirit to have his way, getting excited for and believing in what he's about to do.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, bu tthe Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Romans 8:26-27

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him, how I've proved him o'er and o'er.  Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, oh for grace to trust him more."

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