My wife and I were walking in our neighborhood early this morning. At one point we followed a path through a field where we had spotted a coyote a few days earlier. There is a creek in the area, which I assume attracts wildlife.
And there are rabbits in our area—many, many rabbits. I recently learned online that rabbits are one of a coyote’s first hunting choices. As a result, the more rabbits there are, the more coyotes there are likely to be.
I also learned online that coyotes are more likely to hunt in the predawn and dusk hours. As we discussed this fact, three rabbits appeared on the lawn in front of us. The thought occurred to me: if rabbits knew what I know about the hunting habits of coyotes, they might be less likely to be active when coyotes are on the prowl.
I mentioned this to Janet, and she replied, “If only rabbits could google.”
She’s right: learning online about the hunting habits of coyotes gave me a distinct advantage in avoiding them. Rabbits could benefit from the same.
However, God made rabbits to be rabbits and people to be people. Rabbits can do things I cannot do, and I can do things rabbits cannot do.
The key is to be the best we can be at fulfilling the calling we are designed to fulfill.
Experiencing “the power and the wisdom of God”
For a Christian, there can be no doubt about our highest purpose. God’s intention for us is clear: “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). The Father wants us to be more like his Son every day. The more Christlike we become, the more we experience the abundant life of Christ (John 10:10) and draw the world to him (Matthew 5:16).
So, how can you and I be more Christlike today than we were yesterday?
The good news is that the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer is working to exhibit the “fruit of the Spirit” that manifest the character of Christ (Galatians 5:22–23). If we are “filled” and controlled by him every day, he will mold us every day into the image of our Lord.
When we are filled with the Spirit of God, we experience the Son of God who is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24)
“The King whose kingdom is boundless”
St. Gregory (died AD 395) was bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia (modern-day Turkey). Commenting on Paul’s description of Jesus, Gregory wrote:
“Paul’s words show us the significance of Christ’s name, when he said that Christ is the power and wisdom of God. But he also called Christ: peace; the inaccessible light where God dwells; our sanctification and redemption; the great high priest; our Passover and our sacrifice of expiation; the brightness of glory; the very image of God’s substance; the creator of the ages; our spiritual food and drink; the rock and the water; the foundation of faith; the chief cornerstone; the image of the great and invisible God; the head of his body, the Church; the first-born of the new creation and the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep; the first-born from the dead, the first-born among many brothers; the mediator between God and man; the only-begotten Son crowned with honor and glory; the Lord of glory; the beginning of all things; the King of justice, but not only of justice but also the King of peace and the King of all things, the King whose kingdom is boundless.
“Paul gave all these names to Christ and many others too: so many that they cannot easily be counted. But they are all related, and if you understand the meaning of each of them on its own and put those meanings together then you will come to understand the full meaning of that one word ‘Christ’ and that will show you – as far as the human soul is able to comprehend it – God’s inexpressible greatness.
“The good Lord has granted us the privilege of sharing in this, the greatest, most divine and chief of all names, so that, honored by the name of Christ, we are called ‘Christians.’ So then we must ensure that in us are seen all the meanings of the name of Christ, so that our title is not false and meaningless but is borne out by our lives.”
“An artist must paint”
Here’s the bottom line: the more we are submitted to God’s Spirit, the more we manifest God’s Son to the world and become “Christians” in the fullest sense of the name. We fulfill God’s highest purpose for our lives, to his glory and our good.
As a commentary on my observation that rabbits must be rabbits and people must be people, the psychologist Abraham Maslow noted, “An artist must paint, a poet must write, a musician must make music if he is to be fully at peace with himself.”
Are you fully at peace with yourself today?