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Wednesday Word — August 26, 2020

August 26, 2020 | Jay T. Smith

Becoming the Love

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Actually, like you, I think a lot all of the time. What has captured my attention lately is this statement from the ancient rabbi and Christian theologian, Saul of Tarsus, a Jewish tent-maker’s son. He had shared the good news of God’s coming in Jesus with the people of Galatia, in modern-day Turkey. Later, another group of Jewish-Christians had come through Galatia and shared a different version of Jesus’s story. This version said that a person still had to be obedient to the Jewish legal rules in order to participate in the gift of Jesus. Saul (now Paul) responded to this development with his letter, Galatians. But there is one verse that encapsulates all of Paul’s thought, and it is found in chapter 2, verse 20. He states:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

Authentically Human

In a nutshell, this is what it means to be a Christian. Yet for Paul, it has an even deeper meaning—it is what it means to be truly and authentically human. It is a recovery of the beauty of being human—a beauty that we lost, forgot, and have somehow lived to turn our backs upon. In essence, the joy and beauty of being human begins with God in us. The love and truth that is Christ lives within us. Thus, it is only when I lose myself—to God—that I find myself. I find who I really am—the love of which I am truly capable, the joy that I can continually experience, and the degree to which I can bear the pain associated with that love. There is more truth, beauty, and goodness in this sentence than I can begin to comprehend.

The God within whom all creation was created exists and lives—desires to dwell within and with(!)—the summit of creation: human beings. Interestingly, and against all modern claims to the opposite effect, this truth does not make us less human, but rather makes us absolutely and completely human. One could even argue that without God we are incomplete.

God’s Design

It makes perfect sense though, doesn’t it? War, injustice, hatred, jealousy, anger, lust, greed…all those things that we have adjusted to as “just human nature” are really foreign to who we are. Those are things that are not supposed to be characteristics that mark us as human beings. Love is. The only way to find our way again is to take God back completely into the very heart of who we are and allow Him to transform us into the love we were designed to be. Think about it, and become that love with Him.

Jay T. Smith

President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

Dr. Jay Smith leads the Yellowstone Theological Institute as its president. Dr. Smith has served as minister of youth, music and as senior […]

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