You are more than you seem. You are not the sum of your parts. You are not the result of indiscriminate laws of genetics. You are not your parents. You are not your past. You are not a product of your environment. You are not merely human.
The catch phrases of our society are, “I can’t help it. That’s just the way I am,” and, “I had a difficult childhood,” and, “I just have a _____________ (fill in the blank…addictive, explosive, subdued, extroverted, introverted, unique, abnormal, dysfunctional, etc.) personality,” and, “I was temporarily insane.” But, these are just excuses. These are all lies–at least the way we mean them and want to use them.
Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, reminds these Christians that they are called to something bigger and better than their humanity:
For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? [1Corinthians 3::3-4, ESV; emphasis mine]
These Christians, with all of their rivalry, envy, and pride, are merely human. What is Paul saying by exhorting them to not act so human? God wants us to go beyond our humanity, beyond our shortcomings, beyond our genetics, beyond our divisions, and our past, and our prejudices, and any other excuses we might give. We are not merely human.
As Christians, as citizens of the kingdom of heaven rather than any kingdom of earth, as sons and daughters of God we are called to look past the limits of our humanity. We are human, but we are not merely human. Look at what Paul says in 2Corinthains 5:16-17:
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Paul says that, like Christ, we are not merely the sum of our parts, we are not merely flesh and blood. Christ demonstrated this by rising from the dead. Flesh and blood dies and decays, but Christ was not defeated by death. He must have been more than human. But, that is the point that Paul is trying to make regarding us. If we are in Christ, then we are new creations. Not just human, but something different and better and not limited by our humanity.
You are not merely human. By the power of God you are so much more. And, by the power of God you can realize your full potential:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. [Colossians 1:11]
What does it mean for you, that you are not merely human? It means, first of all, that you have no one to blame but yourself for your sins; not your parents, your past, or your genetics. [see James 1:13-15] But, more importantly, it means that you are capable of being pleasing and useful to God. It means that God’s call for you to be like Christ is not wishful, idealistic thinking, but a realistic goal for your life. [see Romans 8:29] It means that you no longer have to be enslaved to human thinking, human living, human business, human politics, human pursuits. You are free to pursue the glory that is found in Christ. You are not merely human. You are more than human.