Immanuel, God with us, is more than just an extraordinary truth. It’s surpasses being a simple locator of God. It is an esteemed identity. For those married, identity changed from single to married. Those born again had an identity change from alone to never alone. A restoration takes place bringing us back into relationship with our Creator, the One in Whose image we were created. When creation comes into alignment with the creator, a completion takes place that cannot happen any other way. ‘God with us’ makes us complete.
“…and in Him you have been made complete.” Colossians 2:10
Many struggle to see themselves as complete. One reason is when we look at ourselves, we look only at ourselves. Self-image is a stand-alone concept that takes no account of others. It’s too narrow a view. Synonyms for complete are whole, wide-ranging, all-inclusive, extensive, entire, and perfect. The point is that we can’t build an image of complete or perfect from only one aspect of the whole. Not when we are intended to see ourselves ‘together.’
My youngest daughter is about one year old. If I saw her alone, the last thing I would think is complete. No one year old can take care of themselves. For my daughter to be complete, she would have to be viewed within family. She needs the care and support of loving parents. She is not seen as less than perfect because she can’t talk, walk or prepare her own food yet. She is in process. She is complete through relationship. What she can’t do yet, my wife and I can. At the end of the day, our daughter has her needs met by our love and support. The result is perfect or complete. Our strengths making up for her weakness. She is destined to do what we do. She is growing every day. She would not be complete without us, but she is not without us. Our offered strength becomes an invitation to grow.
Relationships, especially family, complete us and make us equal. One’s strength compensating for another’s weakness. In 1 John, we see a different view of what perfects us than what the world describes. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18) See it? Fear is the opposite of perfect. Perfect ceases to be defined by performance, but rather love. God is love and we are invited to abide in that love as a child. We are perfected by love. Self-image, as a judge of self, should not be a tool to demean ourselves for our weakness. It should be a judge of where we need to receive another’s strength.
“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
Only One is perfect and complete and even He refers to Himself as ‘Us’ in Genesis 1 (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). God alone is in a place to offer Himself completely. We need to become like a child in our thinking. We are in process and always will be as we grow from glory to glory. Without Father God, we would be imperfect and incomplete, but we are not without Him. God sees us as perfect and complete in the finished work of the cross. What we couldn’t do for ourselves, Jesus has done. He has ended the hostilities and reconciled us. No longer orphans (incomplete), we have been given the Spirit of adoption, where we cry Abba, Father! Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love…” (Ephesians 1:4). Regardless of where we are in that process, He chose us, knew us, and wants to complete us. ‘God with us’ is the lens where we can see ourselves complete and perfect. ‘God with us’ is our identity.
“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Marianne Rice says
This was great. Thank you. Loved the analogy with your daughter and being complete in Christ.
Chris Wilcoxson says
Thanks for the comment Marianne. Merry Christmas!
What a fantastic way to make this so relateable! Thanks for posting!
Chris Wilcoxson says
In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus, the Son who is given, is also called Prince of Peace. Peace is Shalom: “peace; COMPLETENESS; welfare; health” – Vine’s Expository Dictionary. Peace and completeness are the result of a healthy self-image that has to include “God with us” in order to be whole.
I said this Sunday and I’ll say it again. I had a WOW! moment when you said, “We were never meant to be judged alone.” I never realized how I would separate myself from Jesus when I thought of the judgement seat (Romans 14:10), which, of course, brought in fear. When you said that I got so excited, because even at the judgement seat Christ Jesus is with me! I am never not ever no matter what alone!! Hallelujah!
This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us “co-heirs” with Christ and worthy of obtaining “the promised inheritance of eternal life.