To the Point . . .
Complete in HimA Christmas Meditation
It's that time again. The Christmas rush is here. Remember that breathless feeling from last year?
There's never enough time at Christmas to get to all the programs, dinners, reunions, and still experience those peaceful moments of tranquility portrayed on serene idyllic Christmas cards. Those moments never seem to come.
Nor is there enough money. There's not enough money for all the expected gifts, let alone the needs, to say nothing of the wants of all the kids. Credit cards help for awhile, but then comes January and the bills. There won't be enough money till March, if then.
Nor will there be enough friends. There are always lonely people at Christmas. Will there even be enough love within your own family when the kids get cranky and everyone just needs to get back to work and out of each other's space?
Will you have enough of anything this Christmas?
I love the story of the poor old woman who was treated to her very first trip to the beach. She just stared at the endless waves and water with tears streaming down her cheeks to join the salt water at her feet. Finally someone asked her what was wrong. She managed to sob out in reply, "That's the first thing I ever saw that there was enough of."
Have you ever looked at anything in which there was truly enough? Does anything exist like that in your world?
But be careful. He is so close that you could overlook Him. He is so hidden that you could miss Him. Look past the lights, gift wrap, and bills.
Jesus is completely enough.
Adequate. Sufficient. Enough. Completely enough.
More than you will ever need.
He is God.
While He was on earth He was a man who was completely God. In His written Word we read, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9, NIV). That means that the complete Being of God was in the man Jesus. The boy Jesus. And even in the baby Jesus.
The hour-young red and wrinkled, still damp and nursing baby that the smelly shepherds disturbed was completely God. Amazing. Just think, the complete God was still God, even though He needed to be fed, protected, rocked to sleep, and even changed. All of God was in the helpless baby.
Of course, all of His attributes were not exercised in that baby. At that moment Jesus gave up the privilege of exercising his omnipresence, among other things. But He was still God.
I don't understand it either. But I am thrilled that God was once a baby.
Because now I know beyond any doubt that Jesus understands. He is completely able to relate to any experience I have as a person because He was once a human. He was teased and stressed out. He was hassled and hurried. He was tired and hungry.
He knows what it is to not have enough.
He didn't always have enough food. He went for forty days without a crumb. At that point, even the stones became tempting. Not enough food.
He got behind on his sleep because of his habit of praying at night. Not enough sleep. At crucial times his friends deserted Him, leaving Him alone and lonely. Not enough friends. He was teased, mocked, slapped, hit, and tortured. Not enough respect. He was hated, betrayed, and condemned. Not enough love. His ministry was cut short by his untimely death. Not enough time.
Not enough of anything.
The complete God entered the realm of the "not enough."
So that now He knows what you and I need. Right now, when you are so frustrated because there is not enough of you to go around, not enough money to buy it all, not enough time to do it all, and not enough love to touch them all.
Hebrews says it best: "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).
He knows. He's been here. He's done this.
Been here, done this.
Everything, that is, except for sin.
He has enough awareness, enough experience to completely understand.
And He not only knows, but He cares.
Mr. Skeptic says, "Ok, so Jesus knows all about life here in this world of 'not enough.' He's been here. But so what? Just because He knows doesn't mean He cares or that He is going to do anything about it. He's not here now. Besides that, He doesn't seem to change anything in my world. I don't care how much He knows until I know how much He cares. Does He care at all?"
Does Jesus care? Did He, when He was here?
He cared enough to come, enough to enter the world of "not enough." He suffered here. He died here. And He did it all because He chose to love and to care.
Joseph Stowell wrote, "The stunning point of Christmas is that God considered my needs and the worth of my relationship to Him to be sufficient cause to go through the trauma of changing places."
Being God, Jesus was full of the character of God. That character includes love. Jesus was full of the love of God.
But love by itself is without meaningful direction unless guided by the truth of what is needed most.
Jesus was full of both love and truth.
Truth guides love. Love energizes truth. They balance each other when they are both found in a person. Especially when that person is full of both of them. Jesus was. Jesus was fully God. And He was full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NIV)
This means that His love was and is directed by the truth of what our real needs are. Not our wants. And His grace is motivated by loving truth, not by guilt, or pity, or obligation. He doesn't just throw another Christmas gift at us to keep us quiet for another year. He doesn't go Christmas shopping, spend money He doesn't have, to buy something you don't need so that you will think He really cares, even though you really don't like Him at all.
He doesn't play that game.
He lives truth. He is full of truth. He is the way, the truth, the life. (John 14:6 NIV) He is truth.
Truth can be scary. Unnerving. Truth exposes. He sees and knows everything. Nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him before whom we stand exposed.
We should feel exposed and guilty in His sight. We are sinners. We are the guilty ones. Sinners. Condemned.
He knows that. Our sin doesn't surprise Him. He always knew we were sinners. One new sin doesn't shock Him. He is way past being shocked by our sin.
His knowledge of our sin prompted Him to sacrificial action. It cost Him His life. He took the hard way. It would have been much easier for Him to have pointed his condemning finger at sin from the safety of heaven.
Or He could have stood on soap boxes all over Palestine and preached against sin. He could have seemed so right, so just, but so unconcerned.
But He chose to accept in Himself the death that we deserved for our sin.
He suffered, He was bruised, beaten, teased, hit, whipped, tortured, and killed because He chose to get involved. He could have stood on soap boxes, but instead, He hung on a wooden cross, a torture device. And His blood became the ultimate cleanser for sin.
Having done that, in the words of Hebrews, "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need -- one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself" (Hebrews 7:25-27, NIV).
The King James Version indicates, "He is able also to save them to the uttermost...." Elam Peachey used to paraphrase the verse to say, "He is able to save them to the guttermost..." In other words, no one is beyond the reach of Christ's complete atonement for sin.
I sometimes picture the sins of the world piling up like caked mud on a walkway. Christ's blood washes them all away. But sometimes to my horror I imagine some stains remaining. The dirt of the modern world is just too much. His blood only goes so far. I imagine Him running out of cleansing power somewhere between the Yoders and the Zeiglers, before the Zooks get to Him in line. He runs out of blood. He sorrowfully shakes His head. "My redemption is all spent. I never thought people would be this bad. The fountain is dry and your sins are here to stay. I am terribly sorry."
Jesus is God. He never runs out of anything. He always has enough. More than enough. You see, it's not so much how much blood He gave, but it's whose blood it was. He was the holy, blameless, and pure one. And He sacrificed for all our sins. And He did it only once. Once for all.
His provision is complete. And He offers us completeness.
"Yes," you say, "I know that. I knew that all along. But right now what I need help with is life. I need help to get through this stressful, discouraging month. This month tests everyone's limits. I need a little extra push power, a little higher octane. I need a few more hours in the day."
But what you are forgetting is that right now, at this harried moment, the same Jesus who entered "not enough" is waiting for you. The One whose sleep was once interrupted by smelly shepherds inside a barn... The One who went for days without eating... The One who endured such anguish of soul that His sweat turned to blood.. This Identifier with all our experiences of not having enough of anything... This God/Man is right now beside the Almighty Supreme Commander in the control tower of the universe and He is waiting for your request. He already knows what you need. And you have instant access to Him. It's called prayer. And it won't cost you a thing except for your pride.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16, NIV).
He is always on call. Accessible. Available. Aware of your need.
And He has all the power of God Himself to meet your needs. He offers completeness. Complete understanding. Complete love. Complete truth. Complete atonement. Complete forgiveness. Complete intercession. Because He is completely God.
"And you are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10).
That's right. You are complete in Him. Not in yourself. Not in your ability to do more, buy more, clean more, smile more, and give more.
But in Him. You are complete in Him.
Let His completeness be yours this Christmas season. Paul wrote, "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God -- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV).
As you experience this Christmas season in the realm of the "not enough," look beyond the desires stirred by advertisers, demands imposed by the expectations of people and the busy schedules imposed by your own drivenness. Pause to behold the complete God who offers you completeness.
Jesus is God.
Jesus is Complete.
And you are complete in Him.
Julian of Norwich wrote this realization in a prayer over six hundred years ago. "God, of your goodness, give me yourself; for you are sufficient for me. I cannot properly ask anything less, to be worthy of you. If I were to ask less, I should always be in want. In you alone do I have all."
You are complete in Him.
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