Elizabeth and I watched some of the exploits of the athletes at the Para-Olympic games in Rio. Their spirit is amazing. ‘They make you cry,’ she observed, echoing my own thoughts. There are things people do that make your weep - not in grief but in deepness - things they do that illustrate both their humanity and origins as sons and daughters of God.
What we see in the natural is even more so in the spiritual. Paul wrote of ‘Christ our life.’ This is not only about the incarnation and the fact of Christ alive by the Spirit in our being. It is about the vicarious humanity of Jesus. This fact, this doctrine and truth about God and His Son Jesus is simply this: Jesus Christ of Nazareth is entirely and absolutely in place of you in relation to God, in relation to Himself and in relation to each other and to ourselves. We may conscientiously try to ‘keep close to Jesus’ with a very spotty success rate. Yet because God is for us and because Jesus is entirely representative of us - even our relationship WITH HIM is covered in His ministry.
Yet this is not my main point. What I am wanting to say is that we are all crippled to some extent. Spiritually all of us lack an arm, some a leg, others some others a disability that renders our humanity incomplete. We have weaknesses that are observable to others and personal habits and modes of reacting that personally cause us regret and shame. Yet because we take the name of Jesus we have His grace - grace not only to cover our dirty rags but grace that is A LIFE THAT IS NOT OURS. Bluntly – Jesus is us.
Jesus is grace and He lives in us to make us whole and to act with wholeness as bearers of His spirit and life. His Spirit manifests as us. There are things you dream of doing. Ways you desire to be, plans that are peculiar to you. Because Christ is your life these are an expression of Him and of you. Jesus did not come to make you a religious freak. He came so that your glory as you would be revealed. Christ in you is the hope and everyday reality of your glory and His!
One can be quite dented or crippled yet release the spirit and life of Jesus. I have experienced this in preaching on occasions when I have felt I have let the Lord down and humiliated myself to the extent that I have felt like giving up and abandoning ministry. Yet in persisting I have witnessed His astonishing love and grace and an amazing flow of spirit and life to Believers as I preached. We can sometimes mistakenly attribute elements of grace and self-control to our own efforts at advancement. On the contrary they are entirely the result of His life in us and for us.