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“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and the living, breathing, in the flesh presence of Jesus changes everything for us. Everything. All the way around the Lutheran Wellness Wheel. Today we’ll consider how the Incarnation of the Son of God makes a difference for our spiritual lives.
I don’t think that everything Jesus did was an example for us. Many of the things He did He did because we can’t do them.
But His life of worship and the spiritual disciplines are one of the ways we are called to follow in His footsteps.And what a joy for us that a life of walking in fellowship is possible, and not just possible, but easy, because Jesus came in the flesh and by grace restored our life with God.
Maybe the best example that Jesus gave us is that He showed us how, by grace, life with God is simple, easy, free and natural. His opponents had made life with God burdensome; weighed down with heavy rules and regulations. Jesus showed that the spiritual life is simply a matter of opening these empty vessels of our lives and receiving God’s good gifts.
One of the first episodes we read about in Jesus’ life is His encounter with Satan in the wilderness. He showed what study, knowledge and memorization of the Word of God can do. As a youngster, Jesus was about His Father’s business, in the Word, teaching in the temple. Simple. Dig into the Word with joy, find life, be filled with power.
Jesus was a man of prayer and solitude, often taking time alone to be with the Father. Simple. Times of pure grace and pure joy, pouring out His heart. He made it simple for His disciples, too. What a beautiful Prayer He gave us. Don’t know what to pray? His own Prayer will keep you busy for a few hours!
Times of fasting were part of Jesus’ life in the flesh. Most of us could stand to skip a few meals for physical reasons, but now that the Bridegroom has departed, it’s time for us to turn our backs on our physical wants once in a while for the sake of enhancing spiritual nurture. It’s as easy as not doing anything!
And because Jesus came in the flesh and tore in two the curtain in the temple, the doors to heaven are wide open for us to enter into the presence of God in Spirit-led, joy-filled praise, confession and thanksgiving. The Incarnation of Jesus means that we who live in the weakness of this flesh can approach the throne of mercy, seeking grace, healing and restoration, and be fed by God in times of worship.
Jesus came in the flesh to show us how to walk with the Father. What a marvelous gift. As you lead others to the manger this Christmas, remember also to be fed.
Thanks for reading.
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