·        Aim to be real, not nice. Jesus didn’t fit the mold of stereotypical spirituality that prizes a nice, calm, and sweet demeanor over everything else. Instead of glossing over life, He connected at a deep level with other people’s triumphs and tragedies, rejoicing with them during good times and grieving with them during bad times. Jesus could be nice, but He could also be outspoken, edgy, melancholy, and fervent. He was passionately emotional, and He calls you to fully and deeply express your emotions as well – both in joy and in pain. Experience God’s passion for you and embody His passion for the world.

·        Deal well with death. Jesus modeled how to let go of this world when it comes time to leave, and how to grieve loved ones who have already left this world. Rather than trying to avoid thinking about death or getting sentimental about it, face it head-on. Trust God when your own time comes to die, and don’t hesitate to fully grieve loved ones who have passed away.

·        See hope in your scars. Jesus’ scars told the story of how His death on the cross redeemed the whole world. There’s redemptive value in your own scars, too. Don’t hide your scars – whether they’re physical or emotional – from others or ignore them yourself. Instead, let them remind you of the wounds you’ve suffered in the past and what you’ve learned as a result. Thank God for the healing and grace He has given you through the years. Tell others the stories of how God has helped you heal from your wounds and move on.

·        Use food to grow closer to God. When Jesus enjoyed meals with others, they recognized more about Him than they had been able to understand before. Eat with your friends and family members often, and use the time to share your thoughts and feelings with each other. Celebrate the holiest meal of all – Communion – and let it draw you into deeper worship as you ponder all that Jesus has done for you.

Adapted from Flesh-and-Blood Jesus: Learning to Be Fully Human from the Son of Man, copyright 2008 by Dan Russ. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com
Dan Russ (PhD, University of Dallas) is the director of the Center for Christian Studies at Gordon College. He has been a Young Life leader and a high school teacher, and he has taught business professionals, city planners, and attorneys in seminars on moral values and vision. Russ lives in Danvers, Massachusetts.