Friday, February 19, 2010

Incarnational Living

Incarnation is what Jesus did when he came from Heaven to Earth and became a Human.

  Incarnation is the belief in Christianity that the second person in the Christian Godhead, also known as the Son or the Logos (Word), "became flesh" when he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The word Incarnate derives from Latin (in=in or into, caro, carnis=flesh) meaning "to make into flesh" or "to become flesh". Definition taken from  

Incarnational Living is what Jesus did when he came to live among us. He lived with the people, became one with them. Became one with us.

We, Christians, are called to incarnatioanl living as well with Jesus being our example.

Many of us talk about it, but do we really do it?

None of us are perfect, but we can’t use our fallen state as an excuse to not practice what we preach or even what claim or wish to believe in.

Many of us say we are incarnational, but are we?

Because, if we don’t follow it up with action then we are not incarnational at all.

Here’s a paraphrased example given by Bruxy Cavey, the Teaching Pastor of The Meeting House in Toronto, Canada; and the author of the awesome book ‘The End of Religion – Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus’. You can also watch some of his Video Teachings here on the Rivendell Teaching Channel

Bruxy’s Example:


If you say you are a romantic guy, but never do anything romantic, and all you do is watch Sci-fi, then you aren’t really a romantic.

You can say you are romantic all you want, but if you don’t do romantic things, then you are not romantic no matter how much you say or think you are.


Yikes! Is Bruxy watching my life like in the ‘Truman Show’?

(Ok, sorry for the paranoid regression.)

What to do about it?

“Ok, Ok”, you say, “I am terrible at it, but where do I start?”

Well, the Bible tells us to ‘First seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.’ in Luke 12:31 and Matthew 6:33 . This means we are to participate in God being incarnational with us.

God became incarnational 2000 years ago with the people of that time in a physical body as Jesus, and He is still incarnational today when he comes to live in our physical bodies as Born Again Christians.

So, we are to participate in an incarnational relationship with the God who lives in us, first and fore most.

Then what?

Well, if we only focus vertically towards God, and then we don’t in turn focus horizontally, with what God gives us, towards other people, then we will be unbalanced, proud, arrogant and a nightmare to others.

On the other hand if we only focus on people, or God second, then we will be shallow and not have the love of God or His power to live Godly and truly joyful lives.

So, we must be other focused and practice Incarnational living with those around us through a relationship with God. We must be involved in their lives and pay attention to them and what’s important to them, as God does with us.

You might say I already do that.

But the Bible also tells us that we must have our own house in order before we can really be effective in living incarnationally with and for others - 1 Timothy 3:4.

Again, I am not saying we must have a perfect home life before we can live with and for others, or we never would. I am saying that our Family should be our first human priority after God.

Now in the home, your spouse should be the main relationship focus, because if you don’t have a good relationship with your spouse then your children will suffer.

The Kids

Your next priority at home should be your children, and I don’t mean paying the bills and feeding and clothing them. I am referring to valuing them, paying attention to them – I mean really paying attention to them - what’s important to them, what drives them in life, their passions, their dreams and even the little things that seem insignificant to us but have great value and meaning to them.

Many times we say, ‘uhuh honey, that’s nice’ and either ignore and push them away or we half-heartedly pay attention to them. I mean of course work, our favorite TV Shows, favorite books, web surfing or god forbid our Facebook Status or playing Farmville is just to important to let them bother us. (Gulp! Been guilty of all of that.)

Oh Man. I have been doing that to my kids while writing this post. Oops !

Many of us do that with our spouses as well. Many times we spend family time or spouse time together with each other, but each doing our own thing - on our own computers, video games, Ect. Each doing his own thing, but together. Or, we all watch TV together. Again I am guilty.

Doing these things together is not always bad, but doing them all the time is bad. We need Spouse and Family time interacting together, not always staring at the TV.

Ok, so once God is the primary focus of Incarnational living followed by the family, then we can look to the neighbor, in other words other Christians and the non-Christians. Incarnational living with our neighbor should start with other Christians - to learn how to live it out in a God Family context, and then to reach out incarnationally to the non-Christian. Matthew 5:16, John 13:34.

Note on ‘The Neighbor’

Jesus said, ‘Love your Neighbor as yourself', and then He was asked but ‘who is your neighbor?’

Jesus replied by telling the story of The Good Samaritan. And, from that story you can surmise that your neighbor is every one you meet - Christian or not.

Finally, my reason for sharing all of this

I originally wrote this post to spotlight what a failure I am in Incarnational living. Not beating myself up, but expressing a steadfast conviction of my failures in this area starting with God, my wife and my kids and carrying on into my Christian and non-Christian friends and then the stranger.

But God has a way of changing things when you set yourself to thinking of how you are not being very incarnational.

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