Delighting in Our Limits

November 2020

One of the tasks I have is maintaining the song database for the church we attend, which means I get to come in close contact with the lyrics of many of the new songs our leaders choose to sing. In these lyrics I often find an aspiration to love God like He loves us. This is a noble sentiment and I have written about this in the past, but these days I have begun wondering if in our endeavors to be “like Jesus”, we are acting less like Paul (1Co. 11:1) and more like the King of Babylon (Isa. 14:14).

Consider: we are designed to be human, less than God, somewhat lower than the angels, yet crowned with glory and honor (Ps. 8:4-6). We are unique beings, the only ones in this universe that have both a visible (body) and an invisible (soul and spirit) component (Gen. 2:7). We are the intersection of the seen and the unseen, designed that way from the very beginning. We have been given the task of managing God’s good creation. Those of us who have been incorporated into the Church reflect Him to the world.

But we are also limited by design. Even before the fall, we see that Adam needed Eve. We can also assume that, because they were separate beings, they likely had different skill sets and talents that were exclusive and complementary. After the fall mankind was punished with more limitations: of pain, of toil (Gen. 3:14-19), of cultural and linguistic divisions (Gen. 11:1-9). So why do I individually attempt to be the all in all? Only God in his unique three-in-one-ness is able to be all in all. We should be delighting in our limitations. God knows we are flesh and treats us with gentleness (Ps. 78:38-39; 103:13-14); we ought to do the same. If I am missing a skill set, there is another person who has it and I can ask them for help, just as they should ask me to complete their weakness. Even God limits himself, so why should not I? If I aspire to something, like loving God like he loves me, but do not reach it, as I work through my disappointment, I should remember I am human. Being limited and failing are normal, and it is okay. After all, God loves humans so much that he became one, complete with the limitations that are inherent in being an ensouled body (or embodied soul).

This thought has brought me some relaxation, because as I aspire to be more like Jesus, I realize that my not being able to measure up perfectly is by design. I am, after all, only one of the cells in the Body of Christ (1Co. 11:14-20). My task is not to be all in all, merely to reflect him as he gives me the opportunity. So, considering our high calling as humans, especially in our restored state as a child of the almighty Creator, what limits can we delight in today? Let us rejoice in the fact that we are human, that we are not God and that he has made us just as we should be: limited.

Image Credit: Kevin Carden | Lightstock