Experiencing The Fulness of Christ (Article 19-9)
It is at the point of truly realizing that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15) that we seek Christ’s own being and attributes – that is to be “Christ-like” in our daily lives. At the core of our motives is to experience the fulness of His love, acceptance, peace and rest. Yet, it seems that our efforts to experience His fullness, evades us. Our efforts to feel His fulness seem to be a “hit or miss” proposition. Why is this the case? Why can’t we experience His attributes in greater measure in a longer lasting manner? To answer these questions, we must see Christ’s life on earth as the “Son of Man” and not the “Son of God”.
Christ existed in two realms. In Scripture, we clearly see Christ as the Son of God, and with it His deity. However, we should study His humanity in Scripture, thus seeing His existence as the Son of Man. It is from studying His humanity that we can begin to understand how we are to live our own lives on earth. Christ often spoke of His relationship with the Father, the motives by which He is guided, and His knowledge of the power and spirit in which He acts. Absent from His stated relationship with the Father is any effort to bring attention to Himself or claim glory. This is quite remarkable when considering that He is the “King of Kings”, the “Lord of Lords”, and the world’s Savior! Yet despite these truths, His actions, mannerisms, and ministry focused only on our Father in Heaven. Even in His capacity as being our Messiah, Christ states “I can of my own self do nothing, as I hear, I judge, and my judgement is just because I seek not my own will” (John 5:30). He further states “For I came down from the heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me” (John 6:38) and that “I seek not my own glory” (John 8:50). These scripture passages open up the deepest roots of Christ’s life, purpose and works while here on earth. Most importantly, it tells us how our Heavenly Father made it possible to redeem us and what repentance (change in our understanding) means.
Repentance – A change in our understanding. In the Book of John, Jesus speaks frequently of His relationship with our Heavenly Father. Though the word “humble” is not called out in John’s gospel, it is in his writings that we see humility so clearly. It is with our understanding of this major theme of humility in John’s gospel, which focuses on Christ’s teachings, that we are able to see our own calling to humility. Listen to and feel the words in which Christ speaks of His relationship to the Father, and notice how often He uses the words “not” and “nothing”, of Himself. For these words are the very spirit of Christ, what He is to the Father, and very importantly, what we are to be to Him. Christ so very clearly communicates to us that we must be nothing, that our Heavenly Father might be all and with this, our obtaining of everything. Christ submitted Himself (with His will) and His powers entirely for the Father to work in Him. Despite His status as the Messiah, He presented Himself as the “Son of Man” – a servant of and brother to us, for this was the Father’s will that He do so. Yes, Christ submitted Himself, with His will and His powers entirely to fulfil God’s purpose – to enable the Father to work through Him so our redemption could be made possible. Christ did not consider Himself, but gave Himself completely to the Father, by giving Himself completely to us. Of His whole mission with all His works and His teaching He said, “I am nothing, the Father is all.”
Humility Cannot be a Fleeting Thought. Christ’s humility was not simply a fleeting thought or moments of gesture when He thought of God. He exacts the meaning of humbleness and His humility was at the very essence of who He was and is. Humility was the very expression of His whole life as the Son of Man. Our Lord and Savior was just as humble with man as He was with the Father, for He tells us that “As the Father loved me, I also loved you” (John 15:9). See, humility is not just knowing the Father’s will, that being for us to know who we are in relation to Him and that apart from Him we can nothing. It is to know we must have unconditional first for Him as our Father and then for each other as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. So important is this point that Christ tells us that “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends” and if we submit to Christ’s commands to love, He tells us “No longer do I call you servants,…but I have called you friends…” (John 15:15). If we are to be like Christ, then we too must exact His love to Him and to each other – not in a fleeting manner, but in every waking moment. If we find our calling of love to be too difficult or beyond our reach, then it must motivate us even more to seek Christ in all that we do. It is the indwelling of Christ that gives us the ability to understand, feel and experience love. It is only by His indwelling that we are able to be humble, for we do not have the power to become humble by our own abilities, and therefore, the lack of personal ability to be good and righteous in the eyes of God.
We Are a Mere Vessel God’s Will. It is by way of humility that we realize the secret of our existence – The secret which every child of God is to know and be witness to. The truth is that we are a mere vessel, a channel, through which God manifests His wisdom, power, and goodness. The root of all goodness is to know that we own nothing that we possess. We are benefactors (not beneficiaries) of all that He gives us and with this understanding, the knowledge that we must bow in deepest humility to God, by way of the Son. It is with this state of mind and this spirit, that we are able to understand Christ’s redemption and with it, its meaning, value, and effectiveness. This is the true self-denial to which our Savior calls us, the acknowledgement that “self” has nothing good in it, except an empty vessel which only God can fill. If we are to be “Christ-like” then we must conform to Christ’s existence – to do nothing for ourselves so God may be all.
We Elude Christ, He Does Not Elude Us. Yes, at the core of our motives should be to experience the fulness of Christ’s love, acceptance, peace and rest. If the fulness of Christ eludes us, then we must realize that the reason is that we elude Christ. We do so by not exacting His nature as the Son of Man – a nature of humility and with it, meekness. For as previously pointed out, our Heavenly Father’s wisdom, power, and goodness is rooted in humility and not in pride. Pride, which is the absence of knowing who we are in relation to God and not believing we need God for all things, is the root of all evil from which no wisdom, power and goodness can exist. Pride robs us from experiencing the fulness of Christ, and with it, the peace and rest we have sought all our lives.
As believers, we know the secret of obtaining Christ’s fulness. With this knowledge, we must examine whether we strive for absolute submission and dependence upon our Father’s will, by way of Christ who we know is one with God and God’s perfect peace and joy.