22 Sep 1999

Only Human

Submitted by theshovel
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"I'm only human!"

There have been sermons preached about our predisposition (a built-in habit) to avoid responsibility. The way it has been taught you would think that those born of the Spirit were spending all their time looking around for excuses to do nothing. But take another good look at that quote. Is it expressing a convenient excuse for failures ... or is it really suggesting that being "human" is the CAUSE of them?

We are so used to the failings, limitations, and down-right evil oozing out of the "empty thing" that we have made some pretty big assumptions about what a "human" is. You and I have been understandably DECEIVED to see it other than what it is. While we have come to agree that Jesus was a perfect man, we have considered Him to be the EXCEPTION. The fact is that Jesus is the DEFINITION of what it means to be human. Everything else is an aberration, a deviation, from the real McCoy!

What is man, that You remember him? Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him? You have made him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and have appointed him over the works of Your hands; You have put all things in subjection under his feet. Psalm 8:4-6, as quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8

Now, here is the main reason we are so confused about understanding humanity: we have been trying to define it by itself and it CAN'T be done! We have only succeeded in describing the deviations of the vessel that was originally created to be the representation of God in the physical world.

Have you ever seen a "hermit crab"? It is a sea creature that claims empty shells for its temporary home. It is temporary because the crab and the shell are not one organism, and the crab has to find a new home when its pants are too tight. The original inhabitant is in union with the shell and both grow together. The shell is actually produced by the "mollusk" inside. When the mollusk dies, the shell dies. A foreign life takes over that has nothing in common with the original inhabitant. If you have seen a hermit crab you may have been fooled into thinking the two (crab & shell) were interconnected. It surprised me the first time I watched a crab trying out new houses. :)

When the life departed from the shell it produced an emptiness. There is a saying, "Nature despises a vacuum". The shell was like a sponge soaking up something else to replace the vacancy. The replacement does not define the shell; it is a deviation of the original purpose. But the fact that the two seem to work together so well gives the impression that they were made for each other. We have accepted the deception as defining humanity. But only Jesus defines humanity - He is "God dwelling in the flesh" (the meaning of "Emmanuel") - the perfect union. Pontius Pilate (the governor who gave the command to crucify Jesus) had no idea of what he was saying when he stated, "Behold, THE MAN."

Who YOU are is found within this reality of Jesus Christ. The old inhabitant (that replacement for the life of God) has been dealt with by His death as He condemned sin in the flesh. You are not the deviant anymore. You have been freed to experience what it means to be truly human.


New Testament: 
Old Testament: 


THIS is one of my FAVORITE of all favorites! i LOVE this one! what it means to truly be human … jesus as the true defining of ‘human’. i have been mistaking for many years that to be ‘human’ was the evil thing, when in reality it is the total LACK of being truly human that is missing in the EMPTY thing … the EMPTY shell … that thing that lacks true life which can only come from god himself. i once knew the emptiness of that ‘lacking’ of the life of god. we are miracles and yet we are duped to believe we are still as the empty thing we once were. we have adopted and adapted to the deception of the lie-ing one who loves nothing more than that deception, as it is his very nature. we who have been made alive, no longer have any place in that ‘nature’. there has been a death and a new birth of miraculous proportion!! MIRACULOUS PROPORTION!! :)
theshovel's picture

These comments were all transferred over from the original website

Posted: Aug-21-03 by Ron

Dear Bro',

Your letter and article as usual make a lot of sense to me and bless me; keep it flowing! In the section where you are communicating about your re- structuring sections on your site, please re-read the part that says "As I am continuing my site, every section will eventually ..... (now I know what you're saying, but who else does?!; haha! I'm just trying to help ya, bro'! Maybe I'll call you on Sun. or e-mail you again sometime be- fore Wed. eve., but in any event, give my love to everyone we know. Speak to you soon.

Love ya lots,

Posted: Aug-21-03 by Karen

Hi Jim:

Thanks for the shoveletter. That was such a neat illustration and one that I could certainly identify with, since my two children, Josh,8 and Seth 6 both owned hermit crabs. It was indeed fascinating to watch those little guys try and find a new home. The funny thing was, that one of them, just would not be satisfied with the options available to him. He made it perfectly clear to us,that no matter what we provided, he refused to be satisfied. So he went from shell to shell (about 5 different ones) over a period of a couple days, and finally just came out and died. I would say he was having an identity crisis in a major way!! So I appreciated very much your comments. That little crab knew he did not have to settle for those substandard options we gave him, and simply opted for the hermit crab great beyond. I have thought at times that would certainly be easier for us too, if we were able to just go on to our heavenly home, rather than contend with this substandard flesh we have. Than the Holy Spirit reveals to me that I am no longer to "contend" with this substandard flesh. Christ came to crucify the flesh yet we get hung up on "cleaning it up." And as your letter points out, the problem is actually that we neglect to recognize all that we have been made in Him and by Him. So let us go on, renewing out minds to the truth, that we are indeed freed to allow His life to be expressed through us. No other option makes sense, except to truly experience "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col 1:27 Thank you so much Jim, I am always blessed and encouraged by your remarks.

I said all of that to say that our address has changed for the shoveletter. Please update your records so I don't miss any future encouragement.

Grace and Peace in abundance,

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Random Shovelquote: Justification (view all shovelquotes)

The justification we have in Christ has no similarity to the justification being sought in the world. It is rather the insanity of the futile mind that has corrupted the simplicity of the good news. source