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« Writing Your Spiritual Renewing Script | Main | Windows of Opportunity »

The Last Piece of the Puzzle

“And ye are complete in him.” Colossians 2:10 

Have you ever been the lucky one find the last piece of the puzzle all by yourself?  The 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle has been scattered out on the card table for weeks. You toy with a single piece, and suddenly, it starts coming together.  You get on a roll and put the last piece into place. You shriek and shout, but no one is there to see it happen and your moment goes unappreciated except for your inner satisfaction.  You no longer have to stare at an incomplete picture with its gaping holes.

Incomplete is a frustrating word.  Not complete; not filled up; not finished; not having all its parts, or not having them all adjusted; imperfect; defective.  It is the bane of our existence; it carries the baggage of failure; it sags with disappointment; it weighs heavily with depression.  An incomplete grade; incomplete test; incomplete treatment. To a quarterback, an incomplete pass is not good; neither is an incomplete game to a pitcher; or an incomplete three-point play to a point guard.  We hate an incomplete manuscript, an incomplete call, an incomplete contract, an incomplete portrait.  But, that’s where we are.

The world cannot complete us.  Not only does the world fail to complete us, it actually depletes us!  In Colossians 2:8-10, Paul alerts us to the dangers that exist in the world, dangers that threaten our faith and leave us with an incomplete life. We can be spoiled—meaning stripped of all value and left with nothing, e.g. the spoils of war; or “to the victor goes the spoil.”  We can be stripped of value by philosophy, by vain deceit, by the tradition of men, by the rudiments of the world.  Our incomplete life cries for a greater understanding about God.

God completes; He is the essence of completeness.  “For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Some wonder about the importance of the oneness of God.  Does it have practical value?  Is it meaningful to us in real life?  Absolutely!  The doctrine of the oneness of God is more than a mere theological position. The plenary indwelling of God in Christ Jesus, the awesome revelation that all of God—his height, his depth, his length, his breadth—is located in the man Christ Jesus. All of God I will ever see, all of God I will ever know is in Jesus Christ!  This truth profoundly impacts my life.

“Ye are complete in him…” The two words—fulness and complete—both come from the same root word. In fact, some versions of the Bible use the same word in both verses.  Have you grasped this powerful concept?  However incomplete we may be by the standards of the world, we are complete in him!  Because God dwells fully in Christ, we are full by living in Christ. Because Christ has access to every attribute of God, so we have access to every attribute of God by dwelling in Christ. Jesus Christ is totally complete and fully divine; therefore we are complete as we live in Him.

We are incomplete in who we are.  The introduction of sin into the human race separated us from God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2. Rick Thompson writes, “‘Incompleteness’ is directly associated with ‘aloneness’. We are incomplete in our isolation. To be alone is to be unhealthy. The worst punishment for a prisoner is to be put in solitary confinement because it has the most torturous and debilitating effect on the emotions. God created us emotionally and spiritually to live life together. There is, in fact, a direct correlation between physical and emotional disease and isolation.”

But, something happened inside of me when I knelt at a Pentecostal altar. When the Holy Ghost came in, the part of me that felt so incomplete was suddenly transformed. I knew that the last piece of the puzzle had fallen into place.  He who keeps searching for something more after knowing Christ needs a greater understanding of God. 

We are incomplete in what we can know.  Do you ever get the feeling that everyone around you is speaking a foreign language?  Did you ever seriously consider buying “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Life?”  To put it mildly, we are incomplete in our knowledge. There are many things we don’t or cannot know; many things we “know” are not really true anyway; many things we know today will be irrelevant tomorrow. The wisdom of this world does not resolve our incompleteness.  1 Corinthians 1:18 says “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. …Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” But, I am complete in him. The one who knows all things lives in me. I don’t have a need to know anymore than that.  I have only a need to abide in Christ.

We are incomplete in what we can do.  Have you tried to work a miracle lately?  Matthew 6:27 says, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”  Have you tried to cure cancer? Have you tried to stop arthritis from creeping into your joints? Have you tried to slow down or stop the aging process? We can replace hair, but not the head on which it grows. We can replace joints, but not the whole skeleton. We can get new glasses, new teeth, new ears, new voice boxes, a whole litany of parts that make the hospital sound like a human AutoZone… But, we can’t create life, and we can’t create eternal life. We can make death run a little longer and faster to catch up to us, but we can’t out run him altogether. We can brag about the things we can do all we want. But we don’t have much room to talk about the many things we can’t do. Like, abortion, crime, divorce, depression, suicide, poverty, disease…So many things I can’t do, but, I am complete in Him.

We are incomplete in what we can be.  Remember the man to whom Jesus said, “One thing you lack…?”  That man was fortunate; he just lacked one thing. If I had been there, Jesus would have said, “Get out a notebook, sharpen your pencil and sit down…” Did you ever look around in the church and say to yourself, “I don’t deserve to be here?” Where did we ever get the idea that we could enter into fellowship with God? How can we approach his holiness? How can the highest walk hand in hand with the lowest? Everything about us offends him. We are not just less than God, a difference of degrees; we are the antithesis of God, a difference of essence. We are as different as night and day, black and white, hot and cold, wet and dry, good and evil, up and down, in and out, guilty and innocent, turmoil and tranquility.  “For when we were yet without strength, in due time a Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8.

Is your life a vast array of disjointed experiences, forced relationships, misspent moments? Are you continually looking for the last piece of the puzzle? Are you tired of one more failure, one more “go-round”, one more stupid move?  Turn your wandering eyes to the Ultimate One. He will not disappoint you.  He’s my doctor, my lawyer, my counselor. He’s my need supplier, my burden bearer, my friend in need. He’s my mother, my father, my sister, my brother. He wakes me up in the morning and sets me on my way. He raised me from my ashes. 

The Josh Groban song, You Raise Me Up was recorded in 2003 and has been acclaimed as the most inspirational song of the decade. 

When I am down, and oh my soul, so weary,
when troubles come and my heart
burdened be.
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
until You come and sit awhile with me.

There is no life, no life without its hunger,
each restless heart beats so imperfectly.
But when You come and I am filled with wonder,
sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on Your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

I’m not sure who the original composer had in mind when he wrote these lyrics.  There is only one who deserves this kind of praise. He hung on a tree for me. He poured his Spirit into me. He raised me from the ruins, from nothingness, from a lost condition. I am complete in him.

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