Incarnating Christ

As I shared yesterday, one of the things I have been doing every day is practicing the simple discipline of praying over truth before I go out to start the day with Anah. Not only do I need to remind myself of the reality and presence of God in my life today, it reminds me I have a choice to act in line with that reality.

So one of God’s lessons for me is learning how to translate nebulous faith into practical reality so that what I believe and how I choose to live line up, particularly in regards to Anah. Again, He brought two Scriptures to mind that are guiding me in living this out differently.

The first one is 2 Cor. 5:20, which says, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” I appreciate this metaphor that helps me better understand another facet of what it means to be a follower of Christ.

I do not know the spiritual state of Anah’s soul—if she will ever even understand the Gospel and her need for it. However, that is not a condition for me. God does not ask me to only incarnate Christ to those who have the mental capacity to appreciate and respond to it. My job is to be His ambassador regardless of her abilities, to be like Christ, to represent Him to her.

  Even if we teach Anah how to do something, like washing her hands, she needs supervision to stay on task. Often it means breaking up my day to check that she is carrying out her assignment. I am learning that being willing to let go of my plans to do so (without grumbling!) is one way to die to myself. This is still a work in progress, but God is faithful.   Photo Credits:  Janna Christian

Even if we teach Anah how to do something, like washing her hands, she needs supervision to stay on task. Often it means breaking up my day to check that she is carrying out her assignment. I am learning that being willing to let go of my plans to do so (without grumbling!) is one way to die to myself. This is still a work in progress, but God is faithful.

Photo Credits: Janna Christian

If I were to imitate my Lord, I would see Him stooping down to children, tenderly touching lepers, patiently teaching disciples, and humbly washing feet. This brings me to my second passage, Phil. 2:3-5—“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…”

Putting these two together give me something very practical to do as I seek to turn my faith into real action. It gives my mind something to focus on while I do the distasteful tasks of cleaning up after toilet accidents, picking food out of her teeth, or clipping her toenails. But it also gives me a challenge to consider how I might not just care for her but to bless her: sitting to read a story, inviting her to join me in the kitchen, or helping her with her iPad.

Jesus tells me in John 12 that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone (v. 24). It is only when the wheat submits itself to being sown into the ground, buried, so to speak, that it will yield not just a replacement, but a multiplication of blessing. Jesus modeled that for me in His own death. 

He now gives me the opportunity to see that happen when I learn to die to myself—my desires, my convenience, my comfort. What I need to die to is not physical, but personal. It is learning to say “no” to myself in order to say “yes” to another. This choice is something my flesh does not want to make, but by the power of the Spirit living in me, it is possible. I don't know what it will yield, but I trust that His Word is true and that somehow, my "sacrifice" (which is nothing like His) will mean fruitfulness in the future. I may not see that fruit in my lifetime, but I can trust that He honor it.

God gives me countless moments every day to choose to incarnate Christ. When my flesh is weary—again!—He has made a way for me through prayer to cry out to Him, to complain, to confess my weakness and my inability. In return, He provides comfort, affirmation, and courage—then sends me back out to do it again. It is not by my strength or might, but by Him. He never tires and is full of compassion for His weak children, unlike me. But in these small choices to turn in trust to Him, He then gives me the ability to bless Anah as well.

Father, teach me how to lean on You to love Anah as You do, for Your name’s sake.