The Word Made Flesh

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:14

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! —Philippians 2:6-8

In John we learn that Jesus is the word of God made flesh—God incarnate. In Greek, he is the “logos” of God, which could also be translated as the “meaning” of God. When this word or meaning comes to dwell in your heart, in your life, Jesus begins to shape the way you view yourself. The word you believe is the word that is made flesh in your life. This Sunday, Ps Josh preached on the effects, reality and impact of the incarnation of Christ. Our humble King teaches us how to have a healthy sense of self or “ego.” 

Freedom from Self-Condemnation

  • Self-condemnation is harshly judging yourself, accompanied by feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness. When you negatively evaluate your thoughts, actions or character, it leads to a sense of personal disapproval.
  • People struggling with self-condemnation find themselves dwelling on past mistakes, perceived shortcomings or moral failings—which leads to the belief that they deserve punishment or criticism.
  • Self-condemnation hinders personal growth and affects your mental and emotional well-being.
  • John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen this glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
  • The antidote to self-condemnation is a God who dwells with us, Jesus who drives out condemnation with his grace and truth.
  • Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
  • Romans doesn’t say that there’s a little bit of condemnation on some days, but we are promised that there’s no condemnation in Christ.

Freedom from Self-Absorption

  • Self-absorption is when you are excessively preoccupied with yourself, disregarding or neglecting the needs, feelings and perspectives of others. You are less aware of others when there’s a heightened focus on your own thoughts, feelings and interests.
  • Self-absorbed people often show a lack of empathy, constant self-reference, limited awareness of others, difficulty collaborating, and validation seeking.
  • John 1:3 says, “Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.”
  • All things were made through Christ, so as believers, we can be inspired to value others above ourselves, embracing a self-forgetful attitude in imitation of the Creator who entered creation.
  • When Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the character of Hamlet could never know his author unless Shakespeare wrote himself into the story.
  • Jesus is our author made flesh, putting on humanity, adopting a humility that we can learn from.
  • Philippians 2 shows us how Jesus voluntarily emptied himself, even though he was fully God, he took on the nature of a servant.
  • Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

Freedom from Self-Justification

  • Self-justification happens when you attempt to defend or excuse your actions or decisions, typically to keep a positive self-image or to avoid guilt. 
  • Self-justification looks like protecting your self-image, selective interpretation, minimizing responsibility, reducing cognitive dissonance (avoiding a disconnect between actions and beliefs) and confirmation bias, where you only see what you want to see.
  • John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
  • But our justification is not found within ourselves but in Christ, our savior who was born as a human under the law in order to fulfill it.
  • Galatians 4:4 says, “All of us have failed to fulfill God’s Law. Christ came in the flesh, under the Law, to fulfill the Law on our behalf.”
  • None of us could fulfill the law or live the perfect life, so Jesus put on human flesh and then shares his righteousness, or right standing before God, with us.
  • The righteousness you’re looking for cannot be earned or achieved, but it has been given as a free gift in Jesus.

Dinner Party Questions

  1. Of the three areas—self-condemnation, self-absorption and self-justification—where do you see God calling you into more freedom?
  2. What do you do you find that you’re beating yourself up or stuck in self-condemnation? How do you embrace Christ’s perfect love for you?
  3. How do you react when you’re accused or confronted? How could you take steps towards listening humbly, knowing your identity is secure in Christ?

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