Becoming Human

A Short Theological-Spiritual Reflection

When I was a sophomore in college, a little book was revolutionary for me. The book was Fully Human, Fully Alive by John Powell. Later, I discovered that phrase had its origins in one of the ancient church theologians (Irenaeus) who said, “For the glory of God is the one fully alive, and the life of man (and woman) is the vision of God.”

We, once, were fully human and fully alive.

Then sin struck and we have become less than we were meant to be.

We, once, were fully alive in the image of God.

Then sin wreaked ruin on that image. The image remains, but it remains scarred, defaced, smeared, disfigured.

We once thought well, felt well, desired well, chose well, related well, loved well, worked well, spoke well, and did all things well and right and beautiful, and God said, “It is good, very good.”

Then sin entered and we no longer did anything well. We did much of it poorly. We did some of it terribly. We did some of it with pain (it is called dysfunction or function with pain). And, at times, it seemed we simply did nothing (non-functional?).

But God who loves and who pursues would not rest until he set things right once again. He set things back to how they were meant to be. It is called redemption. Or salvation. Or transformation. Or renewal. Or rebirth. Or recreation. It is the work of God to make all things new, good, true, and beautiful. It is God making you fully human, fully alive.

So yes, we are human beings, but we are human beings in motion. In process. On a road. Making a way and having God’s way made in us. So we are also human becomings…

We are learning to (once again) think well, feel right, desire appropriately, choose wisely, relate kindly, love outrageously, work wonderfully, speak delightfully. We are becoming what we were meant to be.

You are becoming fully human, fully alive. It takes grace. It takes time. It takes practice.

Yes, that last one is also true. It takes you putting into practice what is needed to become fully human, fully alive. Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John, the essential authors of the New Testament, all agree and teach to put into practice the good things of the gospel (for example, see Matthew 7:24-29; Philippians 2:12-13; James 1:22-27; 1 John 3:18).

So, it is good to learn how to think.

It is good to pay attention to emotions and affections and to feel.

It is good to learn how to desire what God wants you to desire.

It is good to decide and choose wisely.

It is good to relate and care, and love and serve, and listen and talk, and listen some more.

It is good to work, and act, and then rest, and then work, and create a rhythm of holy activity and renewing rest.

And as we respond to and partner with the daily, transformative grace of God we become who we are meant to be. We do it all again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after (1 Corinthians 15:10).

As you string together more and more days like this, as you get a little farther along the road, you begin to realize, by God’s grace and your faithful response, you are becoming fully human, fully alive. And God is glorified and delighted.

G. K. Chesterton said, “Christianity is good things running wild” (and free and strong).

May the good things of the Lord Jesus run wild and free and strong in your life today.

May you become fully human and fully alive.

Becoming so with you,
Pastor Brian


Brian Rice

Latest posts by Brian Rice (see all)